5/2 Garza looking forward to No. 2

Matt Garza returned to Wrigley Field on Thursday after making his first Minor League rehab start, and said all went well and he’s eager for his next game. Garza, who has been sidelined since mid February with a strained left lat suffered during a live batting practice session, threw 2 2/3 innings for Double-A Tennessee Wednesday. The right-hander would not give a timetable as to when he might return to the rotation.

“I’m just looking forward to [Minor League rehab start] No. 2,” Garza said. “I’m prepping my mind for No. 2.”

Garza has not pitched in the big leagues since July 21. He was shut down after 18 starts because of right elbow problems, and finished 6-12 last season. Fortunately, the elbow hasn’t been an issue.

“I feel great,” Garza said. “I’m glad to be back, sort of. I’m excited for No. 2.”

He walked one batter and did not strike out anyone in the Minor League outing.

“I was glad to throw strikes and glad they were swinging,” Garza said. “That’s a good sign. I know I had no punchouts but that means I got a lot of outs with them swinging the ball so I threw the ball in the zone a lot, so that’s kind of what I was looking for.”

The stadium radar gun said Garza’s fastball was at 87-90 mph, but the clubhouse staff in Mississippi told the pitcher that it isn’t very accurate.

“[Velocity] isn’t my concern,” Garza said.

The Cubs have said they want Garza to make at least three Minor League starts.

“I can’t predict when [he’ll be back], I’m just going to say I’m looking forward to five days from yesterday,” Garza said. “When we get to No. 3 — and it might even be No. 4 — when we get to No. 3, we’ll make a decision. Right now, I’m looking forward to No. 2.”

— Carrie Muskat


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