Garza Completes Third Rehab Start, Next Up is Iowa

Matt Garza completed his third rehab start on Saturday afternoon. Garza started for the Smokies, his second start for the Cubs’ Double-A affiliate in his three outings. Garza was not as sharp as he was in his previous start last Monday for Iowa but he was able to get his work in and is scheduled to pitch in the coming week for the I-Cubs.

Garza threw 3 1/3 innings of shutout ball on Saturday. Garza allowed three hits with two walks and three strikeouts on 66 pitches, 40 for strikes. Garza was scheduled to throw 70-75 pitches or four-five innings but a 30-pitch first inning shortened his outing in terms of innings. Garza reportedly threw his fastball consistently in the low-mid 90s.

A report from Gordon Wittenmyer indicated Garza could make two starts for Iowa before he comes off the DL.

Saturday was another positive step forward for Matt Garza and the Chicago Cubs.

Cubs Rotation

The questions began prior to Saturday’s game on which starter could be the odd-man out when Matt Garza is ready to come off the DL. Dale Sveum said that Edwin Jackson would remain in the rotation and so would Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood. Sveum indicated the Cubs would not go with a six-man rotation that would mean that either Scott Feldman or Carlos Villanueva could be on their way to the bullpen.

Ian Stewart

Ian Stewart made his first start at third base for the I-Cubs on Saturday night since he was optioned down the minors eight days ago. Jed Hoyer addressed the Stewart situation prior to Saturday’s game. Hoyer explained that the organization has been patient with Stewart, now it’s his time to be patient with them.

Jed Hoyer on whether or not Ian Stewart has a future with the Cubs from Gordon Wittenmyer:

“I’m not sure. It’s a really good question. I hope there is. I hope he starts playing well. I do think there’s a lot of talent there. It’s been sort of an unfortunate run for us with the injuries. A left-handed hitter with power who plays good defense – I hope there’s a future with him here. But at this point it’s going to be about performance. Potential can only take you so far, and at some point you have to perform.”

Josh Vitters

The Cubs plan on Josh Vitters seeing more time at third base. Vitters was playing in the outfield until Ian Stewart ticked off the front office and was outrighted to Iowa and lost his spot on the 40-man roster in the process.

Jed Hoyer addressed Vitters’ playing time on Saturday. Hoyer said that Vitters would still play in the outfield (Vitters started at first base on Saturday night) but they are doing him a disservice by not playing him at third base.

Drew Carpenter

The Cubs traded RHP Drew Carpenter to the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named later. Carpenter signed a minor league contract with the Cubs in the off-season that included a non-roster invite to big league camp. Carpenter did not make the club out of camp after a decent spring after being considered the sixth starter in the Cubs’ system for a short time.

Carpenter really struggled with the I-Cubs. The veteran minor leaguer was 1-4 in six starts with a 7.33 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP (33 hits, 15 walks and 20 strikeouts in 27 innings).

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  • Theboardrider

    As of today I think Feldman will stay in the rotation. He’s been too good his last two starts. Villanueva has been good too but Feldman has been dominant. Villanueva always looked like a swing guy and he’ll excel in that role. Either way, it’s a good problem to have.

    • Tony_Hall

      Feldman will be staying in the rotation over Villanueva. Both have been good at going back and forth (yes I believe they will move Villanueva to the bullpen and back to the rotation again before trading him at the deadline) and that is part of the value they both bring to a team. A team that has a short term need for a SP this summer, will target someone like Villanueva, knowing they can move him into the bullpen after he is no longer needed in the rotation.

      The other reason for moving Villanueva is innings. The most innings in a season is 125 and 16 starts, where Feldman has been over 120, 4 times with a high of 189 innings.

      The other factor is contract. Feldman is on a 1 year deal where Villanueva is on a 2 year deal and they don’t have to trade him this year. Villanueva can be good rotational depth again for next year.

      A good situation to be in, having 2 FA pitchers on short term deals, that are both pitching well and have the flexibility to start or relieve effectively.

      • Ripsnorter1

        A third reason for Villanueva moving to the pen: he has had a tendency in the past to wear down. You can see that right now as his performance has dropped off of late. That may simply be related to conditioning due to the role which teams have placed him in the past (ie, swing man out of the bullpen). Even the Cubs in ST said that would be his role. So I agree that he is going to the pen unless someone else gets injured.

        • Tony_Hall

          Isn’t this the same as number of innings in a year? Villanueva was signed for the bullpen and the ability to fill in, when needed, in the rotation.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland kept commenting how Rizzo has gotten hot since he has started being so much more aggressive at the plate. “He swings at the first or second pitch now.”

    • Tony_Hall

      The offensive philosophy is not to take pitches, just to take pitches. It is to swing at the pitch in your zone that you can drive. If it is the 1st pitch or the 10th pitch, it doesn’t matter.

      • Ray Ray

        Hasn’t that been the philosophy since the invention of baseball? I know it was since I played and that seems like the 1800’s.

        • Tony_Hall

          You think there is only 1 philosophy on hitting?

          Dusty wanted the guys to hit the first pitch they could hit, those walks just clogged up the basepaths?

          Some people take pitches regardless of if they can drive them, to try and force the pitcher to throw more pitches.

          Some guys lunge at anything close to the strike zone wanting to hit the ball no matter what.

          There are many thoughts on how to approach hitting.

          • Ray Ray

            You think Dusty wanted guys to hit 1st pitch they could hit if is on the black?(or a pitchers pitch) No coach would ever say that.

          • Tony_Hall

            You might want to look Dusty up again. (and no he wouldn’t want a pitchers pitch, but anything the batter can get the bat on, yes)

          • Ray Ray

            This is his philosophy(which I believe in as well) You need guys to drive in runs is what he is saying.

            Baker has repeatedly talked about the desire to have a
            do-it-all leadoff hitter with speed. What kinds of hitters is he looking
            for further down the lineup? Does he want guys with lofty on-base
            percentages? The answer will likely not sit well with fans of the book
            “Moneyball,” because Baker said he believes the OBP statistic is

            “I’m big on driving in runs and scoring runs,” Baker said. “Guys in
            the middle should score about close to equal to what they drive in.
            On-base percentage, that’s fine and dandy. But a lot of times guys get
            so much into on-base percentage that they cease to swing. It’s becoming a
            little bit out of control.

            “What you do is run the pitcher’s count up, that helps,” Baker said.
            “You put him in the stretch, that helps. But your job in the middle is
            to either score them or drive them in. The name of the game is scoring
            runs. Sometimes, you get so caught up in on-base percentage that you’re
            clogging up the bases.”

            FJM’s take

          • Tony_Hall

            He must not like his middle of the order then, as they seem to take a lot of walks.

          • Ray Ray

            Cincinnati Reds 151 BB this year. Chicago Cubs 88 BB’s. Dusty must be fuming

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t get your point at all. Everyone knows Dusty’s thoughts on this, why would you act like you don’t.

            It might have something to do with their players, like their #3 hitter who has taken 32 of those walks and leads the team. Choo has 24, Frazier and Bruce 2 more middle of the order bats are next at 25 and 20. Maybe those middle of the order bats should start swinging earlier in the count, to keep from walking.

        • Tony_Hall

          And if this has been the philosophy of baseball since the invention, why would you be so against teaching it to Castro?

          • Ray Ray

            What am I against? I am against having him take pitches just to take pitches.

          • Tony_Hall

            That isn’t what he is being told to do.

    • Ray Ray

      I posted Rizzo’s average when he falls behind in the count. Most hitters have a significant drop in average but Rizzo’s is extreme this year. I like the fact he is swinging early in the count. Look for a pitch in your zone and drill it. He is the #3 hitter. He is supposed to drive in runs….not look for walks.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Things you learn by looking at the stats…..

    Houston has a more potent offense than the Cubs: 147 runs scored vs 139.

    The Nats have scored only 130 runs this year. Gag!

    The Reds are the top scoring team in the NL with 175.

    The Cubs are 13th, ahead of only the awful Miami Marlins and the dysfunctional LA Dodgers.

    The Brewers have the worst pitching in the NL.

    St. Louis has the very best in MLB. Texas leads the AL.

    • Tony_Hall

      Why is it you never mention the stats where the Cubs are doing good?

      Why just the stats that paint the Cubs in the most negative light?

      I know you will say there are no stats that paint them in a good light, but they are not nearly as bad as you make them out to be.

      Houston 3.97 Runs per game

      Cubs 3.86 Runs per game

      That amounts to 1 run every 10 games.

      I am sure that makes one team a more potent offense then the other.

      The Cubs are 4th in the NL in Slugging, something you like, power. Behind Colorado, Milwaukee and Atlanta.

      They are also 4th in HR’s. Something you didn’t think this team would be able to hit. Also behind the same 3 teams.

      The Cubs are 1st in 2B’s with 81, outpacing 2nd by 9.

      They are 5th in WHIP at 1.24 (only .04 behind 1st place Cardinals)

      They are 2nd in AVG allowed at 231, way ahead of St Lous in 5th place at 246

      They have given up the 3rd least HR’s at 31.

      • willie smith

        there’s only 1 stat that matters-the cubs lousy losing record; so even with all the fancy “new math”; the only “old school” math that matters is W-L and that shows the cubs are bad and will be bad again this year and next so what’s the point of getting in the last word with everyone???

        • Tony_Hall

          You might need to take a few years off of being a “fan” then. If you already know they will be bad, try looking for something to be positive about.

          And the last word again, not sure how I keep anyone from replying to my posts, but this is a place for discussion, not one liners.

    • John_CC

      Ahhh…it appears that the dreadful Cubs offense is also ahead of woeful, pathetic, and everyone,s pick to win the NL East, Nats. That is if the first stats you listed are correct.

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    Looks like Garza might start for the Cubs on the 26th at Cincinnati. Not sure that’s a good idea.

  • Ray Ray

    Hoyer said there is still time for the Cubs to turn things around this year before they are considered sellers? Someone needs to tell Hoyer that it is not good to drink before doing an interview.

    • Tony_Hall

      What do you want him to say, it is over we will start listening to offers? It is May 12th, not July 12th.

      • Ray Ray

        I don’t want him to say they still have a chance to be buyers. Ridiculous. Don’t insult the fanbase

      • willie smith

        say nothing……that’s what should be said. just say we are hoping to improve everyday; some guys are not hitting their stride like castro, sori, barney; why even feed fans a bunch of BS like turn things around………..jed sounds dumb and if thinks cubs fans are that stupid; he’s dumber than I thought. maybe the marketing dept is telling him to say it with all the HUGE amount of empty seats already; but you get what ask for and this is what rickets deserves.
        there’s lots of ways to talk around it; so jed is dumb not knowing how.

        • 07GreyDigger

          If Jed is dumb, how come he’s the GM of the Chicago Cubs and you’re not? Just saying.

    • Raymond Robert Koenig

      I read that too and agree with you, not sure what Hoyer is thinking. It looks like the Cubs might lose more games than they did last season.

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