Matt Garza Makes Another Successful Rehab Start, Throws 54 Pitches

matt garza cubs

Today, Matt Garza made his second successful rehab start, this one coming at AAA Iowa. Garza threw into the 4th inning, giving up just four hits, no walks, no runs, and striking out three.

According to those in attendance, Garza had good stuff throughout his 54-pitch appearance. He was sitting in the 92-94 mph range with his fastball, which is excellent.

Garza has at least one more rehab outing ahead of him, and probably two. Hopefully he feels good after this appearance, and he continues to increase that pitch count. He’ll go again in five 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.

64 responses to “Matt Garza Makes Another Successful Rehab Start, Throws 54 Pitches”

  1. Jason Powers

    So, what SP rotation do fans want come May 20ish?


    or Garza

    Do the Cubs suddenly get a whole bunch better if the BP can use the spare arm? (Relax on the trade idea – July is 40-50 games away)

    1. Kyle


      You could make a case for any of Wood, Villanueva, Feldman to go to the pen, but Feldman has had the most success in the pen and is the least likely to be able to make 30+ starts without incident.

      1. Jason Powers

        I would agree that Feldman may like the pen – or maybe coming off a complete game, you’d like not to upset good results.

        As I mentioned, Jackson, and Brett confirms in his analysis, has been unlucky.
        Jackson has been short in his outings, (high pitch/innings), yet is getting Ks.

        A closer role – I’m just spitballing – would allow him the liberty to cut loose a bit on the FB. His velocity may be down (or not, if you watched a few MLB videos – he’s hit 94-95 MPH heaters in getting those Ks). His slider is a plus pitch, that gets plenty of swings.

        But we’ll see. Feldman has been more economical in SP. I say leave him be.

    2. Spriggs

      It doesn’t really matter which 5 you go with. They’re never going to be healthy all at once for any significant amount of time.

    3. Zogie

      If they are all healthy. I do not care who gets bounced to the pen. Fujikawa will bounce Loe, and one of the remaining starters will bounce either Bowden or Camp. Thank God.

      1. willis

        Agreed. As long as it’s Loe and Camp getting bounced I’m good with either arm they move to the pen. The Pen will then be Fuji, Russell, Feldman/Villanueva, Marmol, Bowden, Rondon, Gregg. Not too great but much better than what is down there right now.

  2. Bigg J

    Will he be in Iowa again?

    1. Bigg J

      I mean the 2nd outing?

    2. Pete

      4 days rest puts his next start on Saturday 5/11 – the Iowa Cubs are playing in Reno. Idk if that is a factor in his decision or not. I think he heads back to Chicago between starts so that he can see family and workout with the team.

      1. Pete

        Right after I posted, the Iowa Cubs radio broadcast said Garza is headed to Tennessee for his next start.

  3. Mike S

    Off topic, but here’s an interesting question:

    A lot of talk has been about who the Cubs will take in the 1st round, but what about with their 2nd round pick. I would like to throw out the name Eric Jagielo, whom they previously drafted in 2010 out of high school. He is a left handed hitting 3rd baseman that hit .297 with 13 HRs in the Cape Cod league. He is currently ranked 34th on MLB’s Top 100 Draft Prospects list, which would fall right at the top of the 2nd round.

    1. Jason Powers

      Left hand hitting 3rd base. I’m down with it, if he is patient – OBP around .400 now. (.297 BA tells me little. Too lazy to look up all his stuff).

      Don’t know enough about any of their draft intentions – but if Theo & Jed can get an ace arm, and 3rd base w/ pop at the top, that’s a start.

    2. Patrick G

      I don’t believe the cubs have a pick in the compensation round. So there 2nd pick is technically like 40-50 somethingish

  4. willis

    Good stuff. Hopefully he feels good after and can make a couple more positive strides towards joining the rotation.

    Still have a couple weeks to figure things out with the rotation. But I’m guessing right now, Feldman is the one moved to the pen. Much can happen between now and then though. Could as easily be Villanueva. It’s between those two though.

    1. mick6x

      there’s no way Villanueva gets bounced anywhere. It has to be Feldman or Jackson my money is on Jackson.

      1. willis

        They are not moving Jackson to the pen. Maybe down the road if he keeps his struggles up, but it isn’t happening anytime soon. They sunk big money into him. Money shouldn’t talk for everything, and I agree he’s the worst starter right now, but their investment in him will keep him in the rotation.

        My money is on Feldman.

        1. Rebuilding

          It’s a tough call. No way Jackson goes to the bullpen on that contract. Not going to criticize because I was just happy they signed someone, but that money is looking bad in 20/20 hindsight. So it’s either Villanueva or Feldman. Villanueva on a 2 year seems more likely to go to the pen given our plans for this year. We might as well “showcase” Feldman

          1. willis

            Jesus, after tonight, as long as this hand thing isn’t a big deal, I’m now leaning Villanueva. Feldman has been pretty awesome lately. He shut down a damn good team tonight. Oh well it’s nice to have options.

      2. jdblades

        Feldman has a one year contract, so for trade value I believe he stays and Villanueva will go to the pen and Jackson makes too much money to be moved to the pen

  5. Dustin S

    That’s good news. It will be an interesting decision for sure. I think Wood is pretty safe for 2 reasons; purely on performance he’s been the Cubs best starter so far, and Sveum likes having at least 1 lefty in the rotation.

    After Wood and Samardzija it gets tricky though because you could make an argument for or against each of the other 3. Villanueva’s stats are right behind Wood but he has plenty of experience in the pen. Feldman has looked good recently but started rough and also has relief experience. Jackson’s stats have been the least impressive of the SP by a wide margin, but he hasn’t really been awful and they probably don’t want to pull the plug already on a guy (and big trade chip) that they just invested $50M for 4 years on. No matter what it will be a short-term juggle, any surplus is going to the highest bidder as soon as they can make a deal.

    1. Jason Powers

      I hear what your saying.

      My thinking – as I made clear a couple post again – is Jackson’s contract is not the driver on what he does. Carlos Marmol is getting 10M for his current role (which is?) So, we should not be hung up on what Jackson does at some salary.

      The key for any move is whether the player psychologically accepts his role, knows its importance, and does not have a chip on the shoulder for what he may think is demeaning.

      Also, some needs to close. Gregg and Marmol have done it, but that’s a convo we Cubs fans know goes only bad in the present.

      All the others in BP, have never done it (or done it well) and have average or mediocre stuff. Jackson has electric stuff – or else, why did we pay him 13M for 4 years???

      But, Jackson’s (past) record did not necessarily warrant a 13M contract. Sure, behind the irrelevant numbers fans know of, Jackson is a better talent than a record or ERA reflects.

      So my theory is the BP would really shape up (once Garza is back – May 25th?) and Jackson’s next few starts may show he’s better than Feldman et. al., but do those other guys fit well as closers?

      I want someone to answer the BP question with current or potential parts. Solve the BP, the team gets better – as we can only improve on the RISP, 2 out hitting.

      1. willis

        Jackson as a closer is intriguing and he has the stuff to do it. But, do they pull the trigger on him as a key rotation cog this quickly, with what they sank into him? I think it’s a little different argument than Marmol only because Marmol is in his last year as a Cub and probably sooner than later will be gone. While Jackson is going to be counted on to be a key piece in this rebuilding process. I just can’t see them placing him in the pen, especially at closer, right now. I think his leash is a little longer than most.

        I’d go with a healthy Fuji to close, Russell primary setup, Feldman/Villanueva as a swing or 6th/7th guy, scatter the rest where needed. I think that bodes well for now and improved the chances of holding leads.

  6. Mike

    Per Cubs’ website active roster page, Dolis is on the active roster, and Kameron Loe is not.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      Very interesting. Does anyone know how he’s looked this year? He’s only thrown 7.3 innings.

      1. Mike

        I’m not sure, but would love to see Dolis harness his command with that velocity. Looks like Loe has been DFA’d.

  7. Chad

    I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot of moves in the next few weeks, mainly in the bullpen, but how in the world do the cubs get away carrying 6 outfielders?

    1. Mike

      Good question. I know they’ve been doing that since Borbon was picked up. I sure hope they don’t bring up Stewart to round out the infield. Not many options at Iowa though, or, at least, infielders who can actually hit mlb pitching…though I’d love to see Watkins called up…but I doubt they will bring him up anytime soon. I agree, though, I think there will be lots more shuffling soon.

  8. Rcleven

    Hope some of these moves result into a winning performance.
    In Dales 34 second post game interview he look like he wanted to slit his throat. The man is down.

  9. Sparks

    This is a little off the subject, but I just finished reading “Beyond Bartman, Curses and Goats: 104 Reasons Why Its Been 104 Years”. I highly recommend this book to all Cub fans! I would put that in all caps, but some would accuse me of shouting. This book brought back lots of memories, mostly bad. (I have been a Cub fan since 1945) It even brought back that World Series and why we lost it. I’m sure Chris put a lot of effort into this book, and I can assure him that, for me, it was well worth it. (It did also bring back memories of more pleasant times.) I loved it!! Thanks, Chris!

    1. MichiganGoat

      I’m halfway through and it’s excellent a book everyone here should own.

  10. Stu

    The Cubs will be sellers in July. Garza is being showcased so he will start until then. One of Feldman and Villanueva will be gone, probably whoever is pitching better. Marmol will be dumped for whatever can be had.

    Dejesus is probably all but gone and Soriano will stick because of no trade. The roster problems will be taken care of by then. Theo is just positioning now for what’s coming in 2 months.

  11. Rcleven

    Is this Dolis’s last option or am I confusing him with someone else?

  12. Brad

    Anyone suggesting they will move Jackson out of the starting to rotation….I have to question their intellect.

    1. Jason Powers


      1. Kyle

        Because you don’t move established MLB quality starters out of the rotation based on a month’s worth of starts with adequate peripherals.

  13. Kyle

    Also of note in this game: No Ian Stewart for the fourth consecutive game.

    1. ETS

      But vitters hit a homerun and made a play (albeit shakily) at third!

  14. ETS

    Garza hit 94 on 3 consecutive fastballs and looked “effortless” the whole time on the mounds. He just looked really good.

    1. willis

      That’s great to hear. Thanks ETS.

  15. North Side Irish

    JIM BOWDEN ‏@JimBowdenESPNxm 15s
    Jed Hoyer just told us on #SXM that they have not missed a start of Mark Appel or Jonathan Gray but have expanded their search beyond those 2

    Just a note for the 2015 rotation…

    1. Kyle

      Gray makes me feel icky because I don’t like drafting pitchers and I don’t like drafting helium guys. If the draft had been six months ago, the hot guy shooting up the charts that might have been ares would have been Manaea, who is now struggling to hit the high-80s on his fastball.

      Appel I can make an exception for as a pitcher because he’s been near the top for so long that I don’t worry about it being a flash in the pan.

  16. Jason Powers

    I’m not saying to do it because of “one month’s worth of starts”. And whoever goes down to the pen, is just as likely to say, “well I’m throwing better than Jackson, or whoever.”

    In 2001, John Smoltz went to the pen, after 5 starts, coming off Tommy John. Sure, a much different scenario, but he was more valued as a starter, for sure. Goes on to be a top closer, and goes back to starting, thereafter. reflects he did come back as a starter with poor results.
    And Smoltz was a much much better pitcher – paid more in then dollars – and no one can question the validity of doing so, BP is actually much harder on arms; but can be managed to reduce stress.

    Just a thought. I guess traditions are hard to break.

    1. Kyle

      “”I’m not saying to do it because of “one month’s worth of starts”. And whoever goes down to the pen, is just as likely to say, “well I’m throwing better than Jackson, or whoever.””

      They can say whatever they want to whomever they want. They’ve all had years to prove that they are as good of a starting pitcher as Edwin Jackson, and he did’t.

      “In 2001, John Smoltz went to the pen, after 5 starts, coming off Tommy John. Sure, a much different scenario, but he was more valued as a starter, for sure. Goes on to be a top closer, and goes back to starting, thereafter.”

      Jackson isn’t coming off of Tommy John surgery.

      It’s not about traditions being hard to break. It’s about the incorrectness of making playing-time decisions based on superficial stats and small sample sizes. That’s a recipe for a disaster franchise-wide.

  17. Die hard

    If the Cubs are .500 when Garza returns then he stays but if continue at this pace then he goes is my take

    1. King Jeff

      I thought that he was already traded to the Rangers. I mean, didn’t we already get their down payment?

      1. TWC


      2. Jp3

        Ha!! Yeah we already got the shot of Borbon as someone put it and now we get a chaser or they get the chaser? I forget?

  18. Chad

    Man, I was disappointed. I live half hour away and was really trying to get to this game just couldn’t get off work. Hopefully he throws in Iowa again but they are out of town for the next week. Glad he pitched well though.

    1. Chad

      Whoa, what, I did not post this. Are there duplicate Chad’s here? I don’t want my posting to ruin your rep my man. Well after tomorrow I will change my name officially to Dr. Chad to clear up any confusion. Carry on other Chad.

      1. cubsnivy56

        You must be from Florida. They always have problems with chads there………..

  19. Die hard

    Without Doc Halladay Phillies selling too

  20. nkniacc13

    I wonder if the Cubs don’t make a trade when Garza is ready to come back in late may. they have been playing this roster game for a while and may decide depending on who they move and what they can get especially if it would be KC and their 34th pick in the draft to make a move in may and continue the build through the draft

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