Matt Garza Impressive in Fourth Rehab Start and Other Cubs News and Notes

Matt Garza made his fourth rehab start on Thursday night in Des Moines and saved his best for what could have been his last minor league tune-up before joining the Cubs rotation. Garza tossed six innings of shutout ball, had all of his pitches working, and was rather efficient in what ended up his longest rehab outing.

Garza surrendered just two hits, recorded seven groundball outs and struck out six batters without issuing a walk. Garza did hit a batter, which ended a stretch of retiring 11 in a row. Garza threw 12 first pitch strikes to the 20 batters he faced and hit 95 mph on the gun when he struck out Jaff Decker swinging to end the fifth inning. Garza struck out two in the first, two in the third, and one batter in each of his final three innings.

The Cubs have not announced whether Garza’s next start will be in the big leagues or in the minors. Garza appears ready but as he pointed out earlier this week, it is the front office’s decision on when he will return to the Cubs’ rotation.  Garza picked up the win in Iowa’s 1-0 victory on Thursday night.

Matt Garza said after the game, “I don’t need another start down here. There’s no reason for me to stay in the minor leagues.” Keeping Garza on regular rest, he would be available to open the series in Pittsburgh on Tuesday and slide right into Carlos Villanueva’s spot in the rotation.

Anthony Rizzo’s Swing

Elite Baseball put together a video analysis of the adjustments Anthony Rizzo made to his swing. Rizzo explained the in-season adjustments he made during an interview with Jordan Bernfield during Cubs Weekly (720 WGN).

This is an excellent video and is well worth the time.

Keith Law’s Mock Draft

The first year player draft is three weeks away (June 6) and a majority of the experts think the Cubs will take a pitcher with the second pick in the draft. Keith Law posted his first mock draft and agrees that the Cubs will select either Jonathan Gray from Oklahoma or Stanford’s Mark Appel.

Law thinks the Astros will take Jonathan Gray which would leave Mark Appel on the board for the Cubs. Law points out it is not out of the equation that the Astros work out a deal with Gray for less than what it would take for Houston to sign Appel. The Astros could take UNC third baseman Colin Moran, Gray, Appel , Kris Bryant or Clint Frazier with the first pick.

Law feels the Cubs will take Gray or Appel, with the Cubs preference being Mark Appel. Law likes where the Cubs are picking in the draft because they will be able to select one of the big arms without having to pay first pick money.

Full Report from Keith Law

While Keith Law thinks the Cubs will take one of the two pitchers, don’t rule out third baseman Kris Bryant. Jason McLeod has watched Bryant play quite a bit and has liked what he has seen.

More News, Notes and Rumors

While the Cubs are playing better ball and Matt Garza’s return from the DL is just around the corner, a few of the bright spots for the Cubs this season (Scott Feldman, Kevin Gregg)  could still be traded in July, even if the Cubs are flirting with .500.

Jeff Samardzija is not ready to talk about a contract extension right now. According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs have put Samardzija “at the top of their list for a contract extension.”

According to a report from Judd Sirott during Wednesday night’s game, Arodys Vizcaino could be a couple of weeks from pitching in minor league games. Sirott spoke with Dale Sveum and the Cubs’ skipper indicated that Vizcaino is getting close to pitching in games. Vizcaino was in Chicago on Monday to get checked out by the team’s doctors.

According to a report from Des Moines, Ian Stewart said he is officially an Iowan now that he has a place there.

The I-Cubs activated Edwin Maysonet from the 7-day DL on Thursday.

The New York Times posted a report on Wednesday that centered on all of the money current on the disabled list in the Major Leagues. The Cubs currently have four players on the shelf (Matt Garza, Scott Baker, Steve Clevenger and Arodys Vizcaino) totaling $16.7 million or 15.7 percent of the payroll. Click here for full graphic.

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Quote of the Day

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want." – T.S. Eliot

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Take the position player. Bryant would be my pick.

    • Sonate

      Agreed. It’s too difficult to forecast the performance of pitchers because none of their arms have gone through the rigor of a 162 game season. We used our #1 pict to draft the “best college pitcher in history” in 2001 and again with Cashner in 2008. And although Cashner could still have some impact, he turns 27 this year and has pitched fewer than 150 innings in his career.

      • Sonate

        I forgot to mention Hayden Simpson. But none of us thought that move made sense from the get-go.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Please, don’t remind me…not while I am eating breakfast!

      • Ray Ray

        Cashner was a very good pick at that spot in the draft. Take a look at a lot of the players who were drafted ahead of him that year.
        On a side note….Cashner is just getting his arm stretched out again as a starter and has been great in his last 2 starts getting into the 8th inning in both.

    • Theboardrider

      Soler’s suspension was too bad. He was really hot and hasn’t gotten back on track yet.

    • 07GreyDigger

      I don’t get what the point of this post is. The Cubs should take a position player and then you point all these Cubs position players they drafted and how badly they’re doing. Isn’t that contradicting your point?

      • Ripsnorter1

        Here’s the points:
        1. I like Bryant. He’s rated at 80 power–the top ranking given on a 20-80 scale.
        Only two current ML players have that same ranking, RE: ELITE POWER.

        2. Then I listed various ML and MiL players and how they are doing, as simply a point of interest. I am interested in how they are doing, so I wrote about them today.

  • WidespreadHisPanic

    I’d like to see the Cubs pick the San Diego kid.

  • Ray Ray

    Rizzo has ZERO K’s in his last 31 AB’s. Nice adjustment! His swing has flattened out a lot from the start of the year.

    • Ray Ray

      Of course the downside is that he has only 1 HR in May but he has raised his average 50 points. I would rather see him put the bat on the ball more than the way he was swinging in April. His RISP average will definately improve with this approach as well. I’ll take the May Rizzo over the April Rizzo anyday.

      • Ray Ray

        Haha! I never noticed that Rizzo swing analysis till after I posted. Nice breakdown.

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    Garza needs to return to the Cubs’ rotation sooner rather than later.

    • Ray Ray

      no doubt. no sense in giving him another start in the minors. He is ready now

      • calicub

        with doc and price going down, now is the time for Garza to be back an re-establish himself over the next 2 months.

  • paulcatanese

    Don’t have to be a brain surgeon to tell the difference.
    April, hands higher and uppercuts the ball, a reverse “c” if you will. Cannot reach the middle up pitch and is late, and cannot touch the low outside pitch.
    May, hands held lower and a little forward getting set to swing. Biggest difference, he is now swinging DOWN on the ball, creating more backspin and driving the ball rather than popping up. More good things to follow with this approach. Down and thru, that’s the secret for him.
    Didn’t learn too much from the video, but the still photo’s tell it all. And Tony, didn’t even need the chart,
    just old school:)

    • Ray Ray

      The eyes are a good thing sometimes Paul!

    • Tony_Hall

      Great analysis and the eyes are the best tool you have when evaluating players, the numbers should be used to back up the eyes and to put players in the best situation to succeed and minimize their weaknesses.

      • paulcatanese

        The numbers seem to work better with younger players, haven’t had the years of developing bad habits. ( Soriono) he is trying, and has had some success, with a lighter bat, but still under the heat of battle resorts to his old swing, but less and less as someone (Cubs) have taken him to heart and are working with him and he is responding.
        The combination of the numbers and the lighter bat has improved him also.
        Not to mention that they have brought back the will to be a better player. It’s a big thing to bring back desire in a player, and they are doing a great job with him also. Credit is where credit is deserved.
        And it appears that Barney will benefit also (hopefully).
        Credit should also go to the front office for picking some of these guys that already have the quality of what they expect from players, but the players just don’t know it yet.
        After that kicks in they may not want to trade some of these guys.