6/22 Garza and Navarro

In his last two starts, Matt Garza has given up one earned run over 15 innings. Dioner Navarro was his catcher both games, but Cubs manager Dale Sveum doesn’t want to play favorites. In Garza’s five previous starts, Welington Castillo was behind the plate, and the pitcher was 1-1 with a 6.26 ERA. The right-hander was roughed up in his last outing with Castillo on June 11, giving up nine runs over five innings.

“I’m not going to sit here and say [Navarro] is his personal catcher,” Sveum said Saturday. “It worked out that way. I really wanted ‘Welly’ to catch all four games in St. Louis to kind of just be involved with [Yadier Molina], the best catcher in baseball, to see the similarities, to compete against the best guy in baseball because we want ‘Welly’ to get to that level, or somewhat near it. I really wanted him to play those four games against the Cardinals, so the schedule panned out to where Navarro would get [Garza].”

Sveum said he can tell Garza is comfortable with Navarro. The two were teammates in Tampa from 2008-10. But Sveum doesn’t like the idea of a personal catcher because it sends a bad message to Castillo, who the Cubs consider their No. 1 guy. The Cubs also want Garza to perform at his best.

“When a guy’s on the mound, no matter what, it’s still whatever you want to call it, it’s his game,” Sveum said. “That’s why starting pitching is where everything starts at and you still want those guys to be comfortable.”

If Castillo continues to work four days on, one off, it seems that Navarro will be matched up again with Garza for his next start in Milwaukee.

“I’m not going to lie to you and say it’s not a thought [to pair them together], but only if it works out,” Sveum said. “I’m not going to put [Navarro] in there for that reason.”

Garza can work with other catchers. When he threw his no-hitter July 26, 2010, for the Rays against the Tigers, Kelly Shoppach was the catcher.

– Carrie Muskat

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