3/27 Garza ready to go

It may be Spring Training but that didn’t stop Matt Garza from diving after a ball onto the hard dirt in front of the Reds’ dugout on Tuesday. Garza was backing up on a play in the second inning. He’s got the cuts on his arm to show for his effort.

“That was awesome,” Garza said. “I didn’t know where I was along the dugout. I thought I was near the stairs. I turned and said, ‘[Darn], I should’ve let that thing hit the fence.’ The dirt was hard and I got a little cut up. I’d rather do than risk a chance at giving up a couple extra runs.”

There was a runner on base at the time but, still, it’s a Cactus League game. If he did give up a run, it doesn’t count after April 5.

“It’s a game,” Garza said. “It’s like saying, ‘Don’t compete, don’t go out there and try.’ It’s a game you don’t want to lose. You want to work on stuff but at the same time, it’s your game.”

The right-hander was pulled after giving up two runs on seven hits over four-plus innings, although he left reluctantly. Cubs manager Dale Sveum came to get Garza in the fifth with two on and nobody out.

“He came out and surprised me,” Garza said. “I said, ‘What are you doing out here? It’s the fifth.’ He said, ‘You have 80 pitches.’ I said, ‘I don’t care.’ He said, ‘I do. I’ve still got to keep my job for the next copule years.’ I did not know I had that many pitches. In the third inning, I told [Alfonso Soriano], I said, ‘Hey, is it the eighth yet? I’m tired. I feel like I’ve thrown eight innings.’ It was 65 pitches into the fourth. I think next time out, I’ll try to spread them around a little more.”

He’ll get one more start in Arizona before making his season debut April 7 at Wrigley Field against the Nationals.

“I’m ready to go,” Garza said. “I’ve got one more and it’s time to fly home. I’m looking forward to that one.”

— Carrie Muskat

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