matt garza cubsAt 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.

  • cubchymyst

    If Garza can get to the point where he can throw 4 innings effectively I’d like to see him back sooner, let him piggy back with Feldmann a couple game. Could save the pen that game and keep either player from having to go through the line up a 3rd time.

    • hansman1982

      Or Piggyback with Jackson, get 4 shutout from him and another 4 from Garza to give it over to Marmol…

      • cubchymyst

        That could work as well, just like to see Garza back in the rotation showing he is effective, and the sooner we can add one of the starters back to the bullpen the better the bullpen situation will be.

      • WGNstatic

        I thought Jackson melted down in the 6th. So 4 shutout innings from Garza, 5 from Jackson. No need for the opposition to even show up!

        • MikeW

          This comment wins today.

  • Kenster

    Going to the games May 14th and 18th would love to see him get the start in one of those!

  • Austin

    I’m hoping he sticks with Kane County for a few starts and starts in Fort Wayne on the 25th. I live in Fort Wayne and am a big Tincaps fan, but I’ll quietly root for Garza for the first few innings haha.

  • cooter

    I hope he pitches good and other teams are truly interested so we can trade him and let another team deal with the constant DL.

    • Edwin

      What do you mean by constant DL? Just looking at the past seveal years, he’s been pretty healthy. It’s really just the one injury last season, and the setback during rehab. When else has he constantly been on the DL?

    • RoughRider

      So far, It’s early, but I can’t look at any trade that’s been made since they have been here that could be a good trade that the Cubs are getting much out of in the majors or minors. Trading Garza if and or when he gets health could be a mistake.

      • Rcleven

        You don’t call the Trade for Wood a good trade? I will take that trade anytime. A starter who has given as many quality starts is worth more than a RP setup man any day.

        • RoughRider

          Marshall for Wood is a wash. Apparently the Cubs did think that a LH RP setup man was worth more than a starter. Marshall had the best spring, as a starter, than anyone on the roster in 2011 yet the Cubs said they needed him for relief. There are indications that Marshall could be as good a starter and maybe better than Wood. The biggest difference is in salary, in that Marshall is paid more and is older.

          • JulioZuleta

            Remember, Marshall was in his last year when they traded him. They got 5 years of a decent starter for 1 year of a reliever. They also got an extra OF and a mildly interesting prospect. I think I’d safely call that a win. Also, Rizzo for an injured RP? Pretty good one there too.

            • RoughRider

              I’ve always felt the Cubs could have resigned him. The Reds did after the trade. Rizzo is hitting .174.

              • JulioZuleta

                So you’d go back and take Cashner over Rizzo?

          • TWC

            Marshall was a terrible starter, which is why he was made into a (successful) reliever in 2008 — he hasn’t been a full-time starter since 2007, hasn’t started a game since 2009, and, for that matter, had a pretty damn mediocre spring in 2011 (and didn’t start a single game there!).

            Care to try again?

            • justinjabs

              SP >>>>>>>>> RP.

            • RoughRider

              Perhaps I was thinking of 2010. Just like the Shark the Cubs kept switching him from starter to relief. Back and forth. He never really got an extended chance to show he could start in the majors.

          • Austin

            A wash?! In what universe? Wood has been very solid so far this season, Sappelt is a guy with high upside, and we got another intruiging SS prospect.

            Also, trading Cashner for Rizzo straight up was a win too.

            Trading Maholm and Johnson for Vizcaino and Chapman was a win.

            Trading Soto for Barrett Loux was a win.

            Trading Dempster for Hendricks and Villanueva was a win.

            Basically, you’re wrong…

            • brickhouse

              Sappelt does not have high upside unless you consider a 5th of or 4A player high upside. They also received a 2b prospect starting AA this year. Cubs have the edge in the Rizzo trade and the rest are too early to call a win. Prospects are suspects until they are playing at the majors. Basicallu you are wrong to call the trades wins considering the players the Cubs traded are helping major league teams and the Cubs prospects are either injured or in the minors.

              • RoughRider

                I agree completely. Remember everyone, I said it was early. Right now Rizzo is not hitting well. Hitting .174 and averaging over a strikeout a gain is not good. I fully expect him to bounce back but I’ve seen a lot of guys come up over the years and have 1 good half a season and never do it again.
                Trading major league players for minor leaguers is fine. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Presently the Cubs have nothing to show, in the majors, to justify the trades.

                • Kyle

                  BABIP has been very unkind to him. The K’s aren’t ideal, but if the balls he did hit were falling at a normal rate, his slash line would be fine.

                  • RoughRider

                    I just like stirring things up every once in awhile.

  • cooter

    I used to have his back until this last stint.

    • TWC

      I’m sure he’s bummed to hear it.

    • blublud

      What did you do with his back after this last stint? Did you give it back to him, or did you put it on Craigs list? I’m sure he would like to have it back. 😉

  • cooter

    He’s just too delicate. a little tightness in the back and he has to sit out for two and a half months. at the same time I realize he wants to pitch and it’s the cubs holding him back for precaution. But man too bad contractors or any other boss wont give you two and a half months off for a little back discomfort.

    • TWC

      Oh, gotcha. You don’t like him any more out of jealousy. Cool.

      “a little tightness in the back” … okay, Doctor cooter.

    • Cubbie Blues

      I’m sure there are plenty of Contractors that pay their employees what Garza makes as well. If a Laborer’s back goes out another is there to take his job. There are only so many Garza’s in the world. Let alone union halls.

  • cooter

    Twc go read your O magazine.

    • hansman1982

      Well, this is constructive debate.

  • Die hard

    With his injury proneness maybe he could be converted to closer and be limited to 9th inning Cubs ahead save opptys ? This way would likely pitch once a wk and never 2 days in a row