First and foremost: is the injury much more serious than originally thought?
The apparent answer to that question is no, it’s just different. The Cubs originally thought Garza might have tendonitis, or a mild strain of the tendons or ligaments in his elbow. It happens to pitchers from time to time, but it can be the start of some trouble. Fortunately, the injury instead is a bone contusion, presumably caused by the repetitive throwing motion (I say presumably, because it’s not like we heard anything about a drunken fall or taking a header off of a 4×4 carrying deer meat). As with any bruise, the treatment is rest. The Cubs haven’t said whether the injury could become a recurring issue, but they don’t seem to be concerned.
Second: why did Garza need to go on the disabled list if he was supposed to miss only one start?
The Cubs love to use words like “precautionary.” And, with Garza, it’s no different. Despite the original suggestion that Garza would miss only one start, the Cubs decided to play it safe and skip at least one more start after seeing Garza’s MRI results. Once that decision was made, a DL stint was the way to go – it can be backdated to the last time he pitched, and, for that reason, 15 days on the DL means Garza would miss only one more start (and then his next start would be a couple days later in the rotation).
Third: is Garza really going to be back after just one more missed start?
Obviously you never really know. But GM Jim Hendry is optimistic (sound familiar?). He called the news of the bone bruise “the best news we could have hoped for” given the location and indications of Garza’s discomfort. He said he expects Garza to return on June 3 against the Cardinals, his first eligible day to return.
Fourth: is there any reason for optimism?
Optimism is a dangerous tonic for a Cubs fan. But, if there is any reason at all for you to be hopeful that the injury really isn’t serious, it was supplied by Garza: “I’m not happy going on the DL; I fought it. It’s not like I chose to do it, but the team and everybody above me felt that’s the best thing to do, and I’m going to trust their advice and go with it.” Garza knows his body, and if he was rearing and ready to go, I suspect this is an issue he’s pitched through before without a second thought. It’s just that, before, he didn’t have MRI results standing in his way.
The Cubs have a whole lot riding on Garza, not just this year, but in the next couple of years, so taking a cautious approach is for the best.