5/12 Cubs notebook
* Last year at the Trade Deadline, the Cubs were sellers. That may be the case again this year if they don’t rally. GM Jed Hoyer said he feels there’s still time for the Cubs to get on track. Sveum agrees.
“We’ve lost so many games we’ve had control over,” Sveum said Sunday. “We know this record could be flip-flopped with a little better play because the pitching has kept us in so many games.”
The Cubs have 21 quality starts, yet have won eight of those games. Thirty-three of their 36 games have been decided by four runs or less, and 28 have been decided by three runs or less.
However, the Cubs are in rebuilding mode, and Sveum knows what that means.
“You know things like that are possible and you weigh all the options and what’s best for the organization,” Sveum said. “Those are things you have to do sometimes. It’s not that easy to see Dempster and Maholm go somewhere else but it is part of the game. We’re trying to ge this thing completely healthy.”
* Luis Valbuena was able to play catch and hit in the batting cage on Sunday, one day after spraining the little finger on his right hand sliding into third base. Valbuena was not in the lineup against Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez, but was available to pinch-hit, manager Dale Sveum said. Valbuena was not expected to go on the disabled list. With one out in the fifth Saturday, Valbuena doubled to right but was tagged sliding into third trying to stretch his hit and jammed his hand on the bag. X-rays showed no fracture, and Valbuena received treatment. He was batting .272 with five home runs and 13 RBIs this season.
* Matt Garza will make at least one more Minor League rehab start, and possibly two, after his abbreviated outing on Saturday. Garza gave up three hits and walked two over 3 1/3 innings Saturday for Double-A Tennessee in his third Minor League rehab start, throwing 66 pitches, 40 for strikes. He struck out two.
“He felt great and everything, but not real efficient,” Dale Sveum said Sunday. “Right now, we have to get him built up to get to the fourth, fifth and hopefully sixth inning.”
Garza will be in Chicago this week when the Cubs return for a three-game homestand against the Rockies, and make his next start for Triple-A Iowa.
It will be tough to eliminate one of the starters from the mix. Edwin Jackson is the only pitcher who has struggled, and he’s not a candidate to move to the bullpen.
“It ain’t going to be easy,” Sveum said about moving one of the starters. “Part of it sometimes, when you have these decisions … it’s a good problem to have, but for the individual, nobody deserves it. They’re pitching perfectly fine. It isn’t going to be the easiest thing to do.”
* With an off day scheduled for Thursday, the Cubs will not tweak their rotation but keep everyone on schedule, Sveum said. Travis Wood, Carlos Villanueva and Jeff Samardzija will face the Rockies in a three-game series at Wrigley Field that starts Monday.
– Carrie Muskat