Results tagged ‘ Matt Garza ’
Matt Garza threw a two-inning simulated game Friday at Miller Park, and did well, although he struggled a bit with what manager Dale Sveum called “pinpoint-manship.”
Garza, who strained his left lat during a live batting practice session Feb. 17 and did not appear in a Spring Training game, was throwing in a game situation for the first time this year. He has not pitched in a regular season game since July, and missed the second half of last season with elbow problems.
“Everything was coming out of his hand OK,” Sveum said. “He was a little rusty.”
His command was also off a bit, resulting in the lack of pinpoint control.
“That’s just the first step to get out there,” Sveum said of Garza, who faced two hitters.
This was the first of at least four games for Garza. Next step will be 45 pitches over three innings. If all goes well, the right-hander should be ready to return to the Cubs rotation by mid May. Garza most likely will go to Double-A Tennessee for his next outing.
* With the addition of outfielder Julio Borbon, infielder Alex Gonzalez was designated for assignment. That doesn’t give the Cubs much depth in the infield. Cody Ransom is the backup at second, short and third, and there is no official backup first baseman. Sveum said the Cubs will rectify that when they add third baseman Ian Stewart, who was rehabbing at Triple-A Iowa. Stewart missed Spring Training with a strained left quad suffered in an intrasquad game Feb. 21, and weather has interfered with his rehab at Iowa. Stewart had played in two games heading into Friday.
“He needs a good solid week to play,” Sveum said of Stewart, limited to 55 games last season because of problems with his left wrist that ultimately required surgery. “He had no Spring Training.”
When Stewart does arrive, Luis Valbuena can fill the utility infielder role.
“If [Stewart] is here, he’s going to start,” Sveum said. “Valbuena will move all over the place. You still have to perform.”
* Kyuji Fujikawa, on the DL since April 13 with a strained right forearm, played catch in Chicago Friday. He threw from about 75 feet, and had no pain. It’s the first time he has thrown since going on the DL.
* Infielder Brent Lillibridge, designated for assignment on Tuesday to make room on the roster for Ransom, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa. Lillibridge was 1-for-24 in nine games with the Cubs.
* Jorge Soler rejoined Class A Daytona on Thursday after serving a five-game suspension and went 1-for-3 with a single in his first at-bat. He was penalized for charging the opposing dugout with a bat in his hand on April 10. Soler had gone to Mesa, Ariz., to workout at the Cubs’ facility there during the suspension.
“He was really anxious to come back, he was excited to play,” Daytona manager Dave Keller told the Daytona Beach News Journal. “I just told him, ‘Hey, let’s go play baseball. Let’s go after it. Get into your routine and get prepared for the game.’”
– Carrie Muskat
* Theo Epstein fully supported Dale Sveum’s decision to change closers and switch to Kyuji Fujikawa in place of Carlos Marmol.
“I think he made the right call,” Epstein said. “Marmol bounced back last year to have a really solid second half. Of course, he should’ve started this year as our closer. You don’t lose your job after two bad outings at the end of Spring Training. To do that would be counter to everything we believe in. He pitched really poorly three times to start the year,” Epstein said. “It was important for the team to make a change. We need to believe we can win these close games late. For Marmol, last year, he went back after struggling, fixed himself and came back and contributed. We need to be open to that possibility again.”
Sveum said they want Marmol to work on his pitch selection, and not get “fastball happy.”
* Darwin Barney has been cleared to do all baseball activities, but won’t get the stitches removed from his left knee until later this week. Barney, on the disabled list with a knee laceration suffered March 30 in the last exhibition game, was able to participate in all drills in batting practice. If all goes well, Barney will begin a rehab assignment this weekend at one of the Minor League teams, and then could be activated April 16.
* Matt Garza, who threw 35 pitches in his second bullpen on Sunday in Atlanta, will throw a couple more bullpen sessions and then was expected to begin a Minor League rehab assignment. Garza has been sidelined since Feb. 17 with a strained left lat. He’s hoping to return in May.
* Last season, Cubs fans had to deal with a 101-loss season. Most understood the growing pains of the team’s rebuilding process. Does Sveum expect fans to be patient this year?
“You can only have so much patience,” Sveum said. “Obviously, they were great to us in hard times last year and understanding the process in the organization. There’s only so much you can take, especially when you have some of the best fans in the country and passionate. It’s not just Chicago — we have a following throughout the whole country. The patience has to give way sometimes — that’s just the nature of the beast.”
There’s no truth to the rumor that Epstein’s hair turned gray since he took over as Cubs president of baseball operations.
“Ten years in Boston will do that to you,” Epstein said of the flecks of gray. “Lots of blown saves. I remember my first road trip with the Red Sox, we opened on the road in ’03, we blew a save Opening Day, blew another one in Toronto, blew another one in Baltimore. They might have sprouted back then. It’s not a new development.”
– Carrie Muskat
* Ian Stewart, on the disabled list with a strained left quad, was the designated hitter in a game at the Cubs’ extended Spring Training in Mesa, Ariz., on Saturday, and could be a few weeks away from rejoining the team. Stewart, injured Feb. 21 during an intrasquad game, was able to run at 80-90 percent on Friday, and is making progress. He has yet to play in the field in a game. Cubs manager Dale Sveum said if all goes well, Stewart could be ready in two to three weeks.
* Second baseman Darwin Barney, on the disabled list with a left knee laceration, was able to take batting practice on Saturday. He had five stitches in his knee because of the cut, and was expected to get the stitches out this week.
* Matt Garza, on the disabled list with a strained left lat, was to throw his second bullpen session on Sunday. Garza threw 25 pitches on Thursday in Arizona, and has had no problems since the workout. He’s expected to return in May.
– Carrie Muskat
* Friday’s game marked the start of a stretch of 19 in a row for the Cubs against teams that finished .500 or above last year. Thirteen of those games are against teams that reached the playoffs, beginning with the Braves. It’s going to be challenging.
“That was last year playoff teams,” Cubs pitcher Matt Garza said. “Things change.”
* Cubs manager Dale Sveum cringed when he saw the replay of Louisville guard Kevin Ware breaking his leg during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. In 1988, Sveum’s career changed after a freak collision with Brewers teammate Darryl Hamilton. Sveum was playing shortstop and chased a pop fly down the third base line, crashing into Hamilton, who was playing left. Sveum broke his left leg, which had to be refractured a year later because it didn’t heal properly. Seeing Ware go down brought back lots of memories for Sveum.
“I felt horrible about it,” Sveum said of Ware, who was expected in Atlanta with his Louisville teammates for the Final Four. “I went through the same thing. It was kind of a freak accident. His was even stranger to come down and do something like that in such a horrific way. It makes you nauseated, that’s for sure. It was one of the more horrible injuries, if not the most horrible injury, we were able to see and witness. Hopefully, he can come back. I don’t know if he can come back from something like that. That was eye opening to day the least.”
Sveum recalled his injury immediately.
“It’s a flashback knowing exactly how much pain you’re in when something like that happens,” he said. “You basically kind of go into shock. It’s something you’ll never forget. I flashback every time [Darwin] Barney or [Starlin] Castro go down this line for a pop up.
“It’s such a trauma incident that you’ll never forget it,” Sveum said.
* There were too many ballplayers on the field during the Braves’ batting practice. The Cubs relievers were doing their normal pre-game routine, but they were in left field while the Braves were hitting. Atlanta general manager Frank Wren asked the players to get off the field, but they didn’t.
“[Wren] came in and asked me a favor, if I could keep the guys off the field, because they were trying to do defensive work,” Sveum said. “Realistically, two teams can’t be on the field at the same time but we all know that at the end of [batting practice], everybody always goes and throws and everybody’s work is done by then. The [batting practice] times got all goofed up. That’s part of why that happened.”
The Cubs pitchers were amused that they were being chased off.
* Hall of Famer Ernie Banks will sing the seventh inning stretch Monday at the Cubs’ home opener. Another Cubs Hall of Famer, Fergie Jenkins, will lead the crowd in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on Tuesday. On Wednesday, members of the 1963 Loyola men’s basketball team, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary of the NCAA championship, will sing, and be followed on Thursday by Blackhawks Hall of Famer goalie Tony Esposito.
* The Braves have done some remodeling in the visitor’s clubhouse. However, they didn’t check the Cubs roster very well. Alberto Gonzalez’s name plate said “Alberto Castillo.”
– Carrie Muskat
Matt Garza rejoined the Cubs on Friday, one day after his first bullpen session since mid February, and said he was already penciling himself into the rotation for May.
“I’m pushing for early May and pushing hard, too,” Garza said.
The right-hander is on the disabled list with a strained left lat, which he first felt during a live batting practice session Feb. 17 in Mesa, Ariz. He had not thrown off a mound from that date until Thursday when he threw 25 pitches in Mesa.
“The first throw was kind of like ‘ah’ and after that it was, ‘Let’s go,’” Garza said of Thursday’s outing. “I felt strong and I felt good. About 18 of the 25 [pitches] were strikes. [It's] slowly, but I’m coming back. Another [bullpen] on Sunday. I can’t wait.”
He feels the arm strength is there, and that he needs to work on his mechanics now. Garza will stay with the Cubs and was scheduled to throw another bullpen on Sunday.
“It made sense to stay there in 90-degree heat [in Arizona] than go to Pittsburgh and try to play catch in 30-degree weather,” Garza said. “It was more logic than anything. Now I’m fine. I want to get off the bump with these guys and just go.”
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs pitcher Scott Baker had hoped to pitch in a big league game on the one-year anniversary of his Tommy John surgery. Instead, he’ll have to delay his return.
Baker, who has been shut down since his only Cactus League start March 17, was examined on Sunday and diagnosed with a strained right elbow. The right-hander will not throw for at least one month, and then be re-evaluated at that point. Baker had the procedure done last April, and had optimistically hoped to be pitching in a Major League game next month.
Cubs orthopedic specialist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo, who examined Baker on Sunday, also checked on starter Matt Garza, who has not thrown off the mound since Feb. 17 because of a strained left lat. Garza was making progress, and on pace to throw his first bullpen the first week of April.
The Cubs have slotted Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva into the rotation to fill Baker’s and Garza’s spots. Next in line would be Chris Rusin, who started on Sunday against the Indians.
“We do have the luxury with the depth we have,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Sunday. “It is obviously a setback [with Baker] but it’s not to where he won’t be able to pitch this season.”
Baker had felt some discomfort after throwing 23 pitches against the Athletics, and the good news is that the problem won’t require any additional surgery, which had been the intial fear.
– Carrie Muskat
With Friday’s roster moves, the Cubs have set the final 25-man roster with the exception of one spot in the bullpen and one on the bench. Here’s the breakdown:
* Last spot to be determined among: Cory Wade, Hisanori Takahashi, Zach Putnam, Rafael Dolis
* Last spot to be determined among: J.C. Boscan, Steve Clevenger, Alberto Gonzalez
Matt Garza, Ian Stewart, Scott Baker and Arodys Vizcaino are expected to open the season on the disabled list.
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs pitcher Matt Garza is slowly making progress after being sidelined with a strained left lat but still has yet to throw off a mound. Garza threw from 75 feet on Sunday for the second time, making about 20 throws. There’s been no pain, which is encouraging. The last time the right-hander was on a mound was Feb. 17 when he ended a live batting practice session after 20 pitches because of discomfort.
“I’m pushing to try to speed it up but they have me on a real set pace right now and it’s going real good,” Garza said Monday.
He won’t attempt to throw off a mound until he’s able to play catch from 120-150 feet for a couple days.
“I want to get comfortable throwing and I want to build up arm strength once again,” he said. “I was 24 days off and that’s just under a month and that’s too much time for me to just jump on a mound.”
The plan has Garza playing catch every other day. On the days he doesn’t throw, he takes part in pitchers’ drills. He’s not expected to be ready until May and it’s been tough to be sidelined.
“It’s tough, but like I’ve said, patience,” Garza said. “Being patient is a big thing. I think this is my test — hopefully, this is my test. I’m excited where I’m at.”
The good news is Garza’s elbow continues to pass all tests.
– Carrie Muskat
* Cubs outfielder Brett Jackson had an MRI on his right shoulder, which revealed some inflammation. He’ll be sidelined about one week.
“I’m going to keep working everyday,” Jackson said Saturday in Mesa. “No. 1 is to get 100 percent healthy again. I’m confident that we’re going to take care of that quickly, and obviously when I’m back we’ll focus on what’s next.”
He said he felt the soreness throwing.
“I’m confident we’re going to knock it out quickly and be healthy for the season,” he said.
* Ian Stewart, trying to come back from a sore left quad, chose not to play in a Minor League game on Saturday and instead continue to rehab his leg. Stewart did play Thursday, his first game action since Feb. 21.
* Matt Garza is making progress with his throwing program. So far, no time table for him to get on a mound.
– Carrie Muskat
* Scott Baker, coming back from Tommy John surgery, will make his first Cactus League start Sunday for the Cubs against the Athletics at HoHoKam Stadium. Baker tuned up by throwing two innings in a Minor League game Tuesday at Fitch Park. Cubs manager Dale Sveum watched the workout and said Baker’s velocity improved in his second inning, and he was throwing his breaking ball as well. If all goes well, Baker could be ready for the regular season by mid April.
* Both Ian Stewart and Josh Vitters were scheduled to run the bases on Wednesday, and if all goes well, they could get into a game on Thursday. Stewart and Vitters both have been sidelined with sore left quads, injured Feb. 21 in an intrasquad game. Whether they will play in a Minor League game or a Cactus League game was to be determined.
* Matt Garza was to play catch on Wednesday, and continues to make progress in his rehab from a strained left lat. Garza was not expected to be ready for the regular season until early May.
* Jeff Samardzija and Carlos Villanueva will start Saturday and Sunday for the Cubs in split squad games in Las Vegas against the Rangers. Hisanori Takahashi will start Saturday in Mesa against the Royals, while Baker will start Sunday.
– Carrie Muskat