Remember when we joked about Matt Garza’s lat injury leaving him out far longer than the Chicago Cubs were first saying? As it turns out, we were right. What started as a week off turned into two, and when he played catch on Saturday, things didn’t go well. The team is now expecting him to miss the first month of the season.
“He’s pretty down about it,” Sveum said of the latest news. “He was obviously looking forward to it going well and it didn’t go so well. He’s pretty down right now about it.”
Garza played catch on Saturday and they tried to pick up the intensity. That’s when he felt some discomfort. Lat injuries can linger but Sveum said this isn’t as serious as some which hurt when you sneeze or laugh.
“It’s just to the point where he’s just not ready to throw a baseball yet,” Sveum said. “It’s not torn or real bad. It’s just not quite ready to throw. It’s not a setback, it didn’t get worse, it’s just not ready — it’s like an evaluation process. Obviously, the evaluation was that he’s not ready to step up any extra intensity throwing.”
Bad news for Matt Garza became good news for Jeff Samardzija, as he was named opening day starter.
“I am excited,” Samardzija said. “The best thing as an athlete is to work hard and see positive gains from it. That (helps) you continue to work hard and keep improving. You get a little taste of success and you want to keep it going.”
But don’t worry about Samardzija getting a big head.
“You don’t take anything for granted in this game, it is a long season,” Samardzija said. “You don’t want to look ahead to next year or the year after that. Nothing is in stone. I will go start-to-start and go from there.”
In other injury news, Starlin Castro and Ian Stewart continue to progress from their respective leg injuries. Castro says he’d be available to play were it the regular season, but he’s not willing to take the chance of injuring it further in a spring game. He took batting practice over the weekend.
“I don’t want to be, ‘OK, I’m good,’ and then get hurt again,” Castro said. “I want to be good for 162 [games].”
Stewart is now swinging a bat and playing catch, but is on no timetable to return.
“We’ve come this far and I don’t want to take a chance at a setback now,” Stewart said. “We’re taking it each day and seeing what kind of progression we make from the day before and going from there.”
But Ian’s really upset, y’all. He’s worked so hard to be the best third baseman he could be.
“It is very frustrating,” Stewart said about being sidelined. “I worked hard this offseason, spent a lot of time away from my family this offseason, going back and forth from California to North Carolina. It is tough and I guess the only positive is that the season is six and hopefully seven months long. If you’re going to be hurt this time of year, and not something to take you away from meaningful games in the middle or latter part of the season. Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer.”
His time away from his family over the winter was made up by the time he spent with them most of last summer.