Matt Garza threw yesterday for the first time since injuring his left lat almost two weeks ago. That batting practice session was the first time he was facing live batters since an elbow injury ended his 2012 season in July. Garza’s throwing session yesterday was essentially just 15 minutes of playing catch from 60 feet, but he felt good afterwards.
“This is the first step to being ready to start pitching,” Garza told the media. “I’m not going to rush this thing …. It was good to be out there, good to throw, and now it’s just back to re-evaluation and see where we’re at again and go from there …. It was nerve-wracking, but after I got done, it was like a sigh of relief. Eleven days inside stinks. But you know it’s progress, and I’ve been making a lot of progression, so I’m pretty pumped.”
Well, great. So he’ll be ready for Opening Day, then?
Although he said it was too early to say for sure, manager Dale Sveum said, “We’re planning on [Garza] being ready for the start of the season.”
All right. Excellent. No worries.
Except Garza, himself, didn’t sound quite so confident. He acknowledged that avoiding the disabled list and starting out the year with the Cubs was a big deal, but he wants to focus on what’s best for the team. And if that means a DL stint to start the year, then so be it.
“The schedule isn’t for Opening Day or opening week,” Garza said. “The schedule is for when my body is ready …. If I try to rush and be ready April 1, I might be reinjured in June and be out. If I take my time, maybe I’m pitching April 15 through October, maybe November.”
It’s great to hear that Garza is focused on putting himself in the best position to help the team throughout the season, but I’m sure he’d be pretty bummed if he had to start the year on the DL (as we discussed on the BN Podcast this week) because then he would have spent time on the DL for three straight seasons.
As long as he continues to progress healthily, a two week DL stint at the beginning of the year isn’t the end of the world. It would allow him more time to rest, it would allow him to miss some of those brutally cold April starts (which can be tough on a recovering elbow), and it would allow the Cubs an additional two weeks to evaluate a rotation and/or bullpen candidate. As Cubs fans, we’re trained to hone in on those blessings in disguise.
That all said, it sounds like Sveum thinks Garza could still be ready for the opening week of the season.