At long last, Matt Garza is going to pitch in games.
After suffering a stress reaction in his elbow last July, and then a lat strain in February, Garza hasn’t pitched in any kind of competitive game in nine months. It’s time to get back out there. On Friday, he’ll begin his minor league rehab assignment at A-ball Kane County. Garza is expected to throw about two innings (or about 30 pitches, I’d guess) as he starts stretching out for the season.
You can think of this process as Garza’s Spring Training – he’d throw about two innings in an initial Cactus League start, too – so we’re about a month out from his return, give or take a week. Players always say Spring Training is longer than they need to get ready, so we’ll see how that holds up with a rehabilitating player. If Garza goes every five days, starting on Friday, he’d throw again on April 24th (would have to be another affiliate, though, as KC is off), April 29, May 4, and May 9. At that point he’d have five “Spring Training” starts under his belt. Most starters got in six Spring starts this year, but, remember, Spring Training was longer than usual this year because of the World Baseball Classic. It seems like a fair bet that the earliest we’ll see Garza back with the Cubs, then, is right around May 14/15/16. That assumes no setbacks. Anything before that time is a bonus.
Yesterday we discussed the implications of Garza’s healthy return to the Cubs, and what it could mean as we move into the middle part of the season (and the looming Trade Deadline).
If you were looking for an excuse to check out the new A-ball affiliate, this is a pretty good one. The intimate setting and the Friday night atmosphere will make for a pretty fun time to get to see Garza up close. The Cougars posted about Garza’s start on their Facebook page, so you can check that out for details on tickets.
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