5/3 Extra bases
* The Cubs and Reds were scheduled to start on time Friday despite the cold and rainy weather.
“It’s going to be miserable all day, like that Texas game [Carlos] Villanueva pitched in with that annoying rain, [which] can be hard,” Dale Sveum said. “Once we get past this time, the weather is awesome and it’s a really really cool place to play when that ivy is out there.”
* Kyuji Fujikawa and Matt Garza will both make rehab outings at Triple-A Iowa, starting Sunday. Fujikawa, who has been sidelined with a strained right forearm, will pitch Sunday, and was scheduled to throw no more than 25 pitches. He appeared in five games before he was put on the disabled list. Garza, who missed all of Spring Training because of a strained left lat, will make his second rehab start on Monday for Iowa. This was expected to be the first of three more rehab starts for the right-hander, limited last season after some elbow problems sidelined him in July.
The Cubs starting pitching has been one of the strengths. What happens when Garza is ready to return?
“It’s a good problem to have,” Sveum said. “Sometimes those things work themselves out by the time he’s ready to pitch and if not, we all know it’s going to be one heck of a tough decision as to what we’re going to do.”
* The Cubs will make a decision on Ian Stewart on Friday. Major League players are limited to 20 days per rehab assignment, and Stewart’s time expires on Friday. Theo Epstein said earlier this week that was a “soft deadline.” So far, Cubs third baseman Luis Valbuena and Cody Ransom have combined for seven home runs in 28 games, most in the Major Leagues. That’s also more than half of the entire season total from last season. Valbuena has hit five home runs so far and Cody Ransom has two at third. In 2012, Chicago third basemen combined for 12 home runs.
“Right now, that combination is one of the best in baseball at that position,” Sveum said Friday. “There’s nothing you need to change there.”
Stewart, who has been rehabbing from a strained left quad suffered Feb. 21, could be re-certified to remain in the Minor Leagues, Epstein said. Stewart also has an option remaining.
– Carrie Muskat