Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza has been sidelined with a right elbow injury since July 21. Initially the Cubs tried pushing back Garza’s start, though shortly after the trade deadline, and MRI revealed fluid buildup around the muscle in Garza’s right elbow. At the point, the Cubs opted to place Garza on the disabled and have shut him down from any baseball activity indefinitely. The indications have suggested that Garza will likely be shutdown for the remainder of the season, however, Garza being the competitor has held out hope that he could still return and pitch for the Cubs during the 2012 season.
Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum indicated on Tuesday that it would be difficult for Garza to return to the Cubs in 2012.
“It’ll take a lot of hard work and some things to happen in the healing process for him to get back (this season),” Sveum said. “Because you’re going to run out of time, basically, to rehab, throw on the side and rehab starts. It’ll be kinda tough, but some guys heal quicker than others.” ESPN Chicago
Chicago Cubs’ President Theo Epstein also suggested that Garza will be shutdown for the rest of the 2012 season, as the focus should be on what is going to be a big season for Garza in 2013.
“Obviously, the priority is to let it heal,” Epstein said. “There’s no need to rush him back. Let him heal and put him in a position to be 100 percent. He’s got a big year next year for the Cubs.”
The reason that 2013 is going to be a big season for Garza is because 2013 is the last year of control that the Cubs have on Garza, meaning the starting pitcher could become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2013 season. While Garza has indicated that he would like to remain with the Cubs for the long-term, the Cubs’ front office likely still has their sights on trading Garza. It has been suggested that the Cubs could trade Garza during the 0ff-season, though considering how the 2012 season will end for Garza, it seems likely that the starting pitcher will begin the 2013 season with the Cubs. Teams interested in Garza likely want assurance that Garza is healthy, and that may not come until they see Garza string together several successful starts.
Allowing Garza to rest for the remainder of the season in order to ensure that he is 100% for the start of the 2013 season is the right move for the Cubs and their potential efforts to trade the starting pitcher.