Garza Inching Closer to a Return and Other Cubs Notes

Matt Garza is getting close to returning to the Cubs’ rotation. Garza will make his third rehab start on Saturday afternoon with Double-A Tennessee. According to reports from the Smokies, Garza is scheduled to pitch four-five innings or 75 pitches when Tennessee hosts the Birmingham Bees (5:15pm CDT).

Garza has completed two rehab starts plus a two-inning simulated game in Milwaukee last month. Garza threw 54 pitches, 37 for strikes, over 3 1/3 innings last Monday with the Iowa Cubs and was very sharp. Garza was charged with one run on four hits with three strikeouts and no walks … the one run scored after he left the game. Garza had very good command, and was consistently in the low-mid 90s with his fastball (92-94 mph), threw a breaking ball and a changeup.

Garza was very happy after his last start and was pumped when he spoke with Dale Sveum after his outing.

Jed Hoyer is on record saying the team would like Garza to build up to around the 100-pitch mark before he is activated from the DL. Hoyer said there is no timetable for Garza’s return but if Garza is increasing his pitch count by 25 per outing, if all goes well on Saturday, Garza would figure to need one more rehab outing before joining the Cubs rotation. And that could potentially put Garza back in the Cubs’ rotation in 10 days, or at some point during the Cubs trip to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati before Memorial Day (May 21-May 26).

Kyuji Fujikawa

The Cubs activated Kyuji Fujikawa from the DL on Friday and he pitched a scoreless inning in Friday’s loss to the Nationals. Fujikawa struck out a batter and ended up facing the minimum after Ryan Zimmerman was called out trying to stretch a single into a double (replays showed Zimmerman was safe). Fujikawa looked good in his first big league action since April 12. Fujikawa had good life on his fastball and ran it up to 94 mph.

Dale Sveum said prior to the game, the Cubs plan on easing him back into his eighth inning role.

News and Notes

Gordon Wittenmyer caught up with Dan Haren and spoke with him about the trade that nearly landed him in Chicago. The Cubs reportedly turned away from the trade that would have sent Carlos Marmol to the Angels for Haren in November after taking a closer look at Haren’s medicals. The Angels were willing to only pay $3.5 million, which was the buyout on Haren’s $15.5 million contract for this season at the time. Haren told Wittenmyer that he knew if he ended up with the Cubs and had a good four months that he would be flipped at the trading deadline.

The same report from Wittenmyer pointed out at least half-dozen scouts say there is not a team that will be willing to trade for Carlos Marmol in July even if he is pitching effectively by then, no matter how much money the Cubs are willing to include in a deal.

As the roster is currently constructed it appears Starlin Castro will hit leadoff when the Cubs face a southpaw. Sveum plans on using Ryan Sweeney against left-handers and told the Sun-Times that Julio Borbon might receive a couple of start against lefties as well.

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Sweeney the everyday vs. LHP leadoff guy?

    Then who sits? Soriano and DeJesus on a rotating basis? Or Soriano and DeJesus and Schierholtz on a rotating basis? Or just Soriano? This should be interesting to watch.

    Castro, for his career, has been a pretty good leadoff hitter.

    • TheWrongGuy

      Here’s something to be on the look-out for fellow Cubs fans as the draft approaches and with the lefty hitting heavy outfield moves recently. I would watch the Cubs to be trading sooner rather than later and be in competition with other teams for a trade before the end of this month… The teams to look for a trade and probably in this order are …. Royals, D’ backs, Orioles, Padres, Rockies, and A’s. The Reds and Brewers are a maybe but probably not happening.
      Now the reason I name these teams is simple most of these teams are in the top of they’re divisions and looking to improve. They also ALL have a lottery draft selection they can trade. and we Cubs are looking for more draft choices.

      That’s my 2 cents.

      I posted this a day ago but thought I would re-post it here, to answer for the changes in the line-up. I could also be wrong. Who knows what Theo McHoyer are up to with the current roster but for sure chenges will be happening sooner rather than later maybe just my opinion…

      • Ray Ray

        Who do the Cubs have that would bring back a lottery pick?

        • TheWrongGuy

          Feldman is a possibility…

          DeJesus is a possibility…

          Shierholtz is a possibility…

          Harriston is a possibility…

          Villanueva is a possibility…

          Soriano is a possibility…

          Sweeny is a possibility…

          Some of these guys may obviously not be traded but anything is possible and remember Garza is soon to return barring any setbacks. Also Harriston/Shierholtz may not be enough to garner a draft pick by himself but he can be packaged in a deal.

          Again just my opinion.

      • Brp921

        To hopefully start some back and forth conversation:
        What would your, or anyone elses, opinion be on trading for a lottery pick vs. a former high round pick that has shown a little bit of what he can be expected to do?
        A lottery pick is somewhat of a crapshoot. Some make it some don’t.
        To get a former high pick for what the Cubs have available for trade would probably only net someone like a Viscaino, high ceiling, but with some kind of setback, which in itself is somewhat of a crapshoot.

        • TheWrongGuy

          Either a draft pick or a prospect ( former 1st rounder) is is good. I guess it depends on the prospect in terms of trading for a prospect. And as for trading for a Draft pick it depends on the team that owns the pick if they will trade it and how much the pick is worth to that team.
          I feel much the same a draft pick is more of a crap shoot than a prospect. So I would expect the draft pick to be cheaper to trade for than the prospect. That is just my opinion though.

          That’s my 2 cents.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Yup. The Cubs are last in fielding. Again. 30 errors leads MLB.

    Let’s analyze those stats to find out where the big leaks are…..

    Castro has 6.
    Castillo has 5.
    Valbuena has 4.
    Navarro has 2.
    Rizzo, Soriano, Schierholtz, Ransom and the departed Lillibridge each have 1.

    NOW HERE’S THE PITCHING LEAKS:
    Feldman….3
    Jackson…2
    Samardzija….2
    Camp….1

    Valbuena has the lowest fielding percentage of any qualified ML 3B at .933.

    Castillo is the worst fielding C at .976.

    Castro is #24 of 26 among qualified ML SS.

    As a pitching staff, the ChiCubs are dead last in fielding. .890 fielding percentage.

    Still, the staff’s fielding is much better than Matt Garza’s .788 in 2011 or .842 in 2012.

    Conclusion: things will get worse when Garza returns.

    • Tony_Hall

      Haven’t we all learned already that counting errors is not the best way to analyze defense….

      • gocubs

        wait, you mean counting errors doesnt tell us how good/bad a defensive player is? and BA with RISP doesnt tell us how good a hitter someone is? and wins for pitchers doesnt tell us how good a pitcher is? and RBIs dont tell us how good of a hitter someone is? its hilarious how some people bash sabermetrics when they are choosing to look at stats themselves – just BAD ones that dont tell us much about a player!