Convalescence Watch: Garza, Fujikawa, Stewart, Baker, Vizcaino

gods-wrathThere are so many injuries to update that it’s just makes more sense to do it this way …

  • Matt Garza’s two-inning simulated start went off without a hitch yesterday, though Dale Sveum noted that Garza was a little rusty. The plan is to have him throw 45 pitches at AA Tennessee on Wednesday (April 24), and, if that goes well, make two more rehab starts (April 29, May 4) before returning to the Cubs. Getting Garza back by May 10-ish would be pretty great, all things considered.
  • Ian Stewart’s rehab at Iowa is going fine, even if he doesn’t have a hit. The real problem has been the rain, which hasn’t allowed him to play consistently over a stretch of games. Dale Sveum says Stewart needs to get about a week straight of games in before he comes back to the Cubs. If all goes well, then, we could see Stewart back with the Cubs by the end of this month. Even though Luis Valbuena is playing fairly well at third, Stewart is expected to take over as the starter when he comes back.
  • Kyuji Fujikawa threw off flat ground yesterday for the first time since hitting the DL with a forearm strain on April 13. If he can get back on the mound within a few days, he could be ready to come back when his DL stint is up at the end of April.
  • We haven’t heard anything about Scott Baker’s checkup in Chicago this past week – the hope was that it was the final step before he could start throwing again. You’ll recall, in his first Spring appearance, coming back from Tommy John surgery, he felt some discomfort in his arm, and was shut down. Since then, we’ve heard very little, but there’s been no reason to project him to return before June. Well, Paul Sullivan writes that Baker is not expected back until after the All-Star break. If true, that would be news (even if it would be unsurprising). Until we hear that he’s throwing off of the mound, however, there’s no sense in projecting a return at any point whatsoever.
  • Speaking of Tommy John recoveries pitching off of the mound, I’d like to hear an update about Arodys Vizcaino’s progress. He was never expected to join a team until a couple months into the season, but if that’s going to happen, he’d have to be throwing off of the mound with regularity in extended Spring Training these days.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

36 responses to “Convalescence Watch: Garza, Fujikawa, Stewart, Baker, Vizcaino”

  1. LouBrown

    If Baker comes back in the second half and pitches well, can the Cubs make him a qualifying offer and at least get a draft pick if he walks?

    1. Dustin S

      If my understanding of the qualifying offer is correct, it would have to be the average of the top 125 salaries. That was ~$13M last year. So that isn’t really an option with Baker. If he isn’t going to be back until after the break, that makes Baker basically a write-off in my opinion. He won’t be able to have any trade value before the deadline, and it’s doubtful he will factor into a playoff run the way things are looking. Best-case scenario Baker takes a low-ball 2014 offer to return the favor for this season, but with today’s players that’s more unlikely than likely.

      Let me also mention that I dislike Ryan Braun with a burning passion.

    2. Pat

      If they make him a qualifying offer, he will take the 13 plus million and say thanks.

  2. mditka

    great work as always Brett – hope all is well w the kids. do you have any thoughts about where Vizcaino is in terms of working out and what you expect to see them do w him this year? have a happy 4-20!

  3. RWakild

    Off subject but Jonathan Gray had 6 ip 2 singles allowed 10 strike outs and only 85 pitches. Man I hope Houston doesn’t take this guy.

    1. LouBrown

      I have a feeling that Gray will be Houston’s pick. I think they try to avoid the whole Boras thing, and with a comparable arm available in Gray, that becomes an easy pick for them.

      1. Jp3

        Gray is a Junior though right? I would think he has more leverage than Appel

        1. LouBrown

          You’re right, he is only a junior. I thought he was a seniot. He would have more leverage. Anyone know who his agent is?

          1. JulioZuleta

            Lou, you must be mistaken…college players are not allowed to have “agents.” That would make them ineligible. They can only have “family friends” that “advise” them with nothing promised in return. It’s just a huge coincidence that Scott Boras happens to be “family friends” with oh, about 15-20 top draft prospects each year. I’m not sure who exactly is Gray’s “advisor” yet, however.

            In seriousness, he might not have one yet.

            1. David

              I’m not sure it works that way with baseball, given the fact that drafted players are still eligible to go back to college if they don’t sign. I don’t think Appel wasn’t allowed to have Boras represent him in negotiations with the Pirates last year.

              1. JulioZuleta

                Sure Boras was allowed to, as an “advisor.” But if a player wants to have his advisor negotiate for him, there is nothing at all stopping him from signing a different agent immediately after he signs. Boras gets nothing (or next to it) when he negotiates for the draft picks. Agents negotiate for those kids with the hope that they’ll have a foot in the door once they start making real money.

                If an amateur baseball player officially signed an “agent” he would no longer be allowed to play at the collegiate level, even if he went undrafted or didn’t sign.

      2. X The Cubs Fan

        I feel the Astros are taking a highschool outfielder most likely Frazier.

  4. LouBrown

    Yeah, even in the inflated pitching market 13 mill is too high for an injury prone pitcher, even with half a season of good work. So that sounds like a total write-off for the Cubs, too bad.

  5. willis

    Great news about Garza. Hopefully he can keep it going.

    Funny that Stewart, who hasn’t been healthy nor hit for shit in years, just gets the 3rd base job handed to him once his boo boo is better. Even though Valbuena has been ok over there. God forbid you earn anything in this organization.

    The thing about Baker doesn’t surprise me. He didn’t look near ready, most likely pushed it to hard, and just robbed the cubs of $5.5 milli. Good work by him. I think if he throws this year, it’ll be after some trades when some spots open up. Same with Vizcaino, don’t expect to see him throwing much with purpose anytime soon. I doubt we see him in the bigs until very late this year, if at all. Last thing they need to do is rush him at all.

    1. koyiehillsucks2

      I hope it’s pure speculation that stewart will start when he gets back, valbuena has been one of the better hitters on the team . They are acting as if he’s an all star 3B coming back from an injury….

      1. willis

        It’s not. Theo and Co traded for him so there is no way he doesn’t try to prove us all wrong and show us that Stewart is awesome. Even if the puppet wanted to play Valbuena, no chance in hell that happens. It’s Stewart’s job as soon as he gets back, even if he stays without a hit in AAA. It’s a shame but that’s the way this is. He was one of their first “big” moves, so unfortunately he’ll be getting every start at 3rd once he comes back, not because he deserves it.

        1. Jp3

          2nd that Willis. They didn’t cut bait with him when they had a chance to get out $1.5 million cheaper because they believe he can be a trade-able asset, he doesn’t have the chance to be one if he is sitting on the bench. Playing Valbuena would be admitting a mistake in keeping Stewart, haven’t seem Theo and Co admit many of those.

          1. willis

            And I know a lot of people on here don’t like Valbuena, and I know he isn’t the long term be all answer at 3rd, but I don’t mind him so much really. He has a little pop, a good obp and plays defense adequately. What makes Stewart any better?

            1. Jimmy James

              Potential….basically Valbuena is stwearts floor (and likely what we get this year) with the potential for more……

              1. Kyle

                There’s a point where you stop talking about a player’s floor and ceiling and potential and he just is what he is.

                Stewart and Valbuena (himself a former fairly decent prospect, which people seem to forget) are both way past that age.

                1. willis

                  Yeah we’ve been hearing about Stewart’s potential for years…he’s never become that. So after how many years, is it ok to just say “this is what he is”?? Valbuena is way more than Stewart’s floor. Stewart’s floor is a windmill stroking about .175 from the dish.

  6. Dynastyin2016

    Any word on the progress of Lake, Vitters and Almora?

  7. Voice of reason

    Where are all the Tony campana lovers?

    The kid is brutal!

    He is hitting .079 in triple a!! He is 3 for 38 at triple a!

    God he is terrible. He might be out of baseball by July. Lol

    1. MichiganGoat

      but but but he is scrappy fast…. he could turn back time a la Superman 2.

      I think BluBud needs to chime in here and explain how the Campy Fan Club is doing these days

  8. Die hard

    They broke his spirit by wanting more power which is not his game– once he regroups will be playing his single / triple game with 40-50 SB and .275 BA and avg defense…. All good enough for Cubs team today

    1. Voice of reason

      They broke his spirit? What in the he’ll does that mean?

      How about the reason he isnt playing well…. He sucks! He is a guy who can run. Maybe he should become a runner in the Olympics because he is about out of chances in baseball.

      They broke his spirit? this is a grown man, not a ten year old kid.

      Cubs fans are conditioned to accept mediocrity and don’t know when a player sucks. They don’t know because over the years they haven’t seen many good players in general.

      1. Deez

        Campana for the Olympic Bobsledding Team!

    2. Carew

      They “broke his spirit” because they told he should get on base more. Not to have power

    3. DarthHater

      “They broke his spirit”

      Translation: He has failed to make some adjustments that are necessary if he is ever to stop being a player who is so completely one-dimensional that he is virtually useless at the major league level.

    4. cubchymyst

      Triple game? Unless you are counting his stealing 2nd and 3rd as a triple he has no triple game,

    5. DarthHater

      Exclusive: Shocking Photo of Campana’s Spirit Being Broken!
      zambrano-breaks-campana.jpg

    6. AB

      “Broke his spirit”

      Is this a joke??

      Of course you’re probably the same kind of fan that called players like Aram, Castro, and Soriano mental midgets. In fact I know you are, as I’ve seen other garbage you’ve posted on here.

      If a simple trade “broke his spirit”, Campana needs to quickly find another career, because he’s not going to be able to hack it as a major leaguer.

  9. John

    Looking forward to the cubs trading for Price – then sign Garza and Samardzija – then drafting Grey. This dream rotation is not that unrealistic!!!! Imagine facing them in the playoffs in 2015. Pitching wins championships. Go Theo.

    1. Voice of reason

      Perfect,nets trade the devil rays Two or three of our top prospects for price, a starter who has thrown a lot of innings just like garza did before we traded minor leaguers to the rays to get him. Now what is garza doing? Sitting on the disabled list because of arm trouble.

      What happens when you do the same thing over and over like trading prospects for pitchers who are older???????????

      We are more than a price away from winning a world series and if garza doesn’t get better why would you want to resign him after this year??

      Be patient and let our minor leaguers develop!!

      Were two years away from even starting to see the kids start to come up.

  10. Tsb

    Campana is no longer a Cub, so let him be. Give the Arizona fans a chance to kick him around.

    1. AB

      I think you mean “Give the Arizone fans a chance to break his spirit”

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