Matt Garza has been recovering from a lat strain since February 17, when he was injured while recovering from a stress reaction in his elbow.
Fortunately, Garza has been able to throw on flat ground several times in the last week without even a hint of pain or discomfort in his lat. He’ll have another couple long-toss sessions before heading back to the mound for the first time since that February 17 session.
In all, it’s expected to be another seven to ten days before he’s back on a mound, assuming there are no more setbacks. So, we’d be looking at the March 30/31/April 1 range for Garza to be back on the mound, at which point he’s going to need at least a month to get stretched back out. Mid-April has long gone out the window in Garza’s relatively slow recovery, but early-May is still on the table, which is not terrible.
That month, which will also feature Scott Baker out of action (and hopefully for only that month), will give the Cubs additional time to see Travis Wood, Scott Feldman, and Carlos Villanueva in the rotation, as well as two additional arms in the bullpen that otherwise would have been bumped to AAA or off the roster entirely. That’s bonus evaluation and showcase time, which … well … isn’t a huge deal, but it’s something. We’re looking for silver linings here.