anthony rizzo matt garza pie faceAs expected/hoped-for after his dominant fourth rehab start on Thursday for AAA Iowa, Matt Garza is finally going to make his season debut for the Cubs next week in Pittsburgh.

After a stress reaction in his elbow ended his 2012 season in July, and after a lat injury end his Spring Training before it began, we’ll finally get to see Garza back on the mound for the Cubs on Tuesday against the Pirates.

With the activation, Carlos Villanueva will be moved to the bullpen, as expected, Dale Sveum confirmed to the media. That means some of the fringier guys in the bullpen – mainly Shawn Camp – could be pitching for their jobs over the next three days. When Garza is activated, someone’s going to have to go.

  • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

    I can’t imagine its anyone other than Camp who has a one way ticket to DFAville.

    • Koyie Hill Sucks

      Has to be Camp.

      • davidalanu

        Possible conversation in the near future:

        Jed Hoyer: “Hey, Shawn, you feeling ok pal? Looks like you’ve been limping a little bit lately”

        Shawn Camp: “You know, boss, now that you mention it, my hamstring has been a little tight lately”

        • Theo Epstein

          Are we really that obvious?

  • Brad

    I don’t understand why the Cubs wouldn’t just got with a 6 man rotation with Villanueva acting as a potential long man if needed or a starter if not. He’s certainly earned the spot. Plus since their plan is likely to increase the value of some of our staff to use them as trade pieces, I don’t know why you wouldn’t continue to try to build that value with Villanueva. Is there any data out there suggesting that starters really are hampered by the extra day of rest in a 6 man rotation?

    • Stinky Pete

      I think the problem is that you are taking away starts from starters we are trying to showcase. Maybe one per, but with as few starts as there are, one is significant.

    • Kyle

      Well, for one thing, we’re trying to win baseball games, and Villanueva in the pen helps that.

      For another, Villanueva is under contract for 2014, so I see no need to be in a hurry to trade him if things go south.

    • Tobias

      You are also taking away starts from your better pitchers i.e. Wood. Pitchers are a creature of habit and you don’t want to disrupt any rhythm they have.

  • Alex

    Villanueva has never started a full season. He’s already beginning to regress this is a perfect chance to let him settle down in the pen and regain himself. July isn’t to far away and he’ll still end up making 25 starts

  • jay

    You would hope and expect its Camp, but Dale seems to have the same mancrush on him he has on Valbuena.

    • mudge

      It’s not Dale’s decision.

      • Jay

        Dale’s got plenty to say about it. And Luis is getting the job done…for now, but he’s a sub .230 career hitter for a reason. Nobody on that team would have bothered with Ian in the first place if they thought any differently.

        • AB

          I don’t get what you are trying to argue here

          Valbuena is the best option for thrid…Valbuena is playing well…Dale is sticking with Valbuena.

          This isn’t like Dusty or Piniella sticking with an old veteran over a youngster that is obviously playing better.

          What’s the problem??

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      I have a crush on Valbuena… He has an .800+ OPS…he’s been doing what I hoped Stewart would do.

  • cjdubbya

    I hate to say this, but considering Sveum’s mancrush on Camp, could they look to put Rondon on the DL with Rule 5 broken fingernail? I know he has to be up for 90 days, but he’s already over halfway there.

  • clark addison

    Valbuena has earned it. He’s got a good glove, hits with occasional power, and isn’t a black hole in the lineup. He’s an excellent placeholder until someone in the system (Lake, Vitters, and eventually Baez) is ready.

    Would you rather have Ian Stewart?

    • Jackalope

      Thoughts on using Valbuena as a trade chip if he keeps performing this well? I think he has just one year of arbitration before becoming a free agent.

  • Rebuilding

    With Gregg pitching well, Fujikawa back, Villanueva to the pen we might have the makings of a below average instead of a terrible bullpen.

    • Jono

      Youre getting my hopes up

  • Die hard

    Mark this post — Cubs are rushing Garza who should be shut down for entire season so can fully heal and come back next year — he will be on DL or worse before season end

    • Rich H

      Where is this information coming from? Not that I agree or disagree I just do not know what a core muscle injury has to do with a player being shut down for the year. If his elbow was barking at him or his shoulder was a problem I would understand but from all I have read he was not having those types of issues at all.

      • Die hard

        Recall that childhood ditty? “Knee bone connected to thigh bone etc … They are not treating the whole person ..

        • Stinky Pete

          Source? Link?

          • AB

            The same guy who is seemingly obsessed with Castro’s figure, and thinks its abnormal for a male to add body mass between the ages 20-23.

    • twins414

      Yes, maybe Garza should sit on the bench and cheer the team on, even though the doctors say he’s ok and he ended up throwing great in AAA (practice). wink wink

    • Jay

      Rushing back??? This rehab has been extremely conservative.

  • Dustin S

    If Villanueva continues to regress starting he’d just hurt his value more, and his real role to most teams would be as a swing man like he’s been through his career. Plus building Garza and Feldman’s value takes priority. Unless Villanueva’s dealt too he’ll be back in the rotation soon enough. It’s pretty much 100% guaranteed that at least one or more of Garza, Feldman, Wood (hope they keep him though) or Villanueva will go before the deadline.

    I’m just glad to see Garza back. I always love his enthusiasm and how he watches the game from the top step of the dugout. They need a little of his leadership and that’s why I’m always a little torn about him being traded. He’s the kind of pitcher that (healthy and on top of his game) you’d be happy to send out game 1 of a playoff series. Granted that probably won’t be something the Cubs have to worry about for a while, but there just aren’t many pitchers like that.

  • James

    With Gara coming back I would like to see an trade of a starter. I think its to early to say that Villanueva is regressioning. He had one bad start. Maybe its time to start thinking of trading Feldman. Scott Feldmen is on a one year contract and he isn’t in the future plans.

  • Jono

    Is there an over / under for how many starts until garza hits the DL?

  • willis

    Sweet. And yes, it has to be Camp who is DFA’d.

    So glad to hear this news. Great to have Garza back.

  • #1lahairfan

    I think Rondon might be going to the DL even though he has been better than Camp thus far.

  • Frank F

    Is anyone else thinking in terms of extending Garza if the price is reasonable and extending Feldman if he’ll accept a 2-3 year deal with options and incentives? I’m really warming up to the idea of a rotation of Garza/Smardz/Wood/Jackson/Feldman with a consistant offense backing them for a few more years while we wait for the kids to grow up.

  • Fastball

    Ha Ha I can’t wait for Camp to be sent packing. I said all off season he sucks with his fastball that won’t break a window. He couldn’t get high school hitters out. He had the element of surprise last year ML hitters hadn’t seen a fastball that slow since pony league. Good riddance Camp. I will never miss you.

  • Fastball

    Next they have to just let Marmol go. He has no value, he will clear waivers nobody takes his salary. Theo and Jed should have made that trade last winter. Getting back damaged goods would have been an improvement. If he is gone we can bring up somebody whose cost is league minimum and it’s not that big a salary hit. Can’t have his terrible performances bringing this team down. These guys need to get used to winning.