Is Matt Garza becoming the new Mark Prior? After sitting out the last two months of the 2012 season, he’ll be taking a week off at spring training after an MRI revealed a lat strain. But there’s absolutely no reason to worry! None at all.
‘‘It’s safe to say it pushes back his first Cactus League start,’’ Hoyer said. ‘‘What it means for the regular season, it’s clearly much too early to say, but we felt like it was really good news. It’s a mild strain. We do think it’ll be about a week, and he’ll be pain-free based on the MRI.
‘‘We’re optimistic. It was certainly a positive read from our standpoint.’’
Manager Dale Sveum is preparing for Garza to miss at least one exhibition start.
‘‘But everything else from there, hopefully, is fine for the start of the season,’’ Sveum said.
Jeff Samardzija is not yet counting out Garza in the opening day starter competition.
‘‘I know how Garza is,’’ Samardzija said. ‘‘I know he’s a competitor. I know how big of a year he wants to have. To count Garza out wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do.’’
‘‘I want the competition,’’ Samardzija said. ‘‘I want me and Garza and everyone to compete every [spring] start for that spot. It’s only going to make us all better.
‘‘Obviously, it was a given before anything else happened that I was going to go and give everything I had to try to earn that spot. And nothing’s changed.’’
Has the situation involving Carlos Marmol and an assault accusation affected his performance at all this spring?
“He hasn’t shown it because he’s throwing the ball way better than last spring training,” Sveum said. “I think he learned a lot last year about his fastball and how to use it. He’s throwing strikes with his fastball.”
He’s on his way to becoming the greatest closer of all time. Speaking of greats, Starlin Castro knows he has Javier Baez on his heels, but wants to be a great shortstop.
“That’s business,” Castro said Tuesday. “I’m here right now and I like this team. I’m going to be on this team all my career. I know he got pretty good talent. Let’s see what happens.”
Three years after Ryan Theriot reported to Fitch Park after losing an arbitration case and issuing his “come and get it” declaration, Castro has spoken with Baez and knows the 2011 first-round pick can play. But the 23-year-old All-Star shortstop is focusing on taking his game to the next level.
“I see myself like my whole career is going to be at shortstop,” Castro said. “And I’m going to be a good shortstop, not (just any) shortstop. A shortstop that can win the Gold Glove, hit, everything.”
For his part, Baez doesn’t care where he ends up.
“Yeah, I play shortstop, he plays shortstop,” Baez said. “But we know I can play third, I can play second and he can do it, too. It doesn’t really matter. … I can play anywhere.”
I hope this is an issue we’ll be discussing in earnest sooner than later.