In what has been one of the more unnerving stories of the offseason and spring training season, Matt Garza is apparently on track to make a full recovery from his mild lat strain.
This injury, which is completely unrelated to the elbow injury he suffered in 2012, is nothing serious as Dale Sveum told Carrie Muskat yesterday:
Today, he said he felt really good. It seems like every day he’s getting better and better.
This isn’t to say everything is peaches and sunshine for Garza. He’s going to miss the entirety of spring training because of the injury which in itself is a setback and an opportunity for the Cubs.
Garza has already proven himself a capable pitcher at the major league level, which allows the Cubs to kick the tires on a few of their minor league players participating in spring training as well as work out the final spots on their starting pitching rotation. Sure, it’s not ideal that Garza is missing playing time, but it’s worth looking at the bright side of any situation.
Sveum continues to say that if Garza can hit the mound this week, he could still contend for the opening day assignment:
Obviously, it’ll be close but it looks like it probably can happen if he gets back tossing in the next few days or so. If he’s capable of tossing here in a few days then I don’t see why he wouldn’t be ready for Opening Day.
The Cubs are wise to take it easy with Garza and not rush his recovery. There is very little to gain from rushing him out on to the mound, especially in spring training. Does the injury hurt Garza’s potential extension with the Cubs? Not entirely, but it sure makes him untouchable as trade bait in spring training. The Cubs will have to wait to see how he performs in the first half of the season before they can contemplate any sort of return for his services.
Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery and a motivated, hungry Garza when he returns.