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.
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.