Lat strain cuts Garza's throwing session short
But right-hander reports no issues with elbow in first outing since July
MESA, Ariz. -- The good news for Matt Garza is that his right elbow felt fine. The bad news, though, is he had to cut short a scheduled 40-pitch throwing session because of a mild lat strain on his left side.
"It's not as bad as I thought, so that's good," Garza said Sunday after getting some treatment. "I'm just kind of day to day."
Garza was facing hitters for the first time since his last start July 21. He'd been sidelined after that outing because of right elbow problems, and Sunday was his first live batting practice session. He faced three batters, and then Jorge Soler stepped into the cage. Garza stopped his session, stepped off the mound, and appeared to be trying to stretch his side.
"I threw the first fastball from the stretch, and it was like a water cramp," Garza said. "I didn't drink that much water today. Naturally, I'm not going to push it. My arm felt fine, so I was pretty pumped about that. The ball felt good coming out of my hand. I think that's what I'm most upset about -- I was like, 'Yeah.' It shouldn't be a big thing and we'll see [Monday]."
Cubs manager Dale Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio went to the mound, as did athletic trainer PJ Mainville. Garza then left the field.
"My elbow was fine, everything on my right side was fine," Garza said. "I was like, 'What the [heck]?' The ball felt like it was coming out of my hand good, I had good control and downward movement and everything had movement and I was happy I threw the ball well. It's a little frustrating, but it's early."
Garza, who was 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA in 18 starts last season, will be re-evaluated on Monday to determine the next step. Sveum didn't think the right-hander was amped up because it was his first time against hitters.
"I don't think there's any rhyme or reason to lat pulls," Sveum said. "Those kind of things happen from a sneeze or a cough sometimes. It's one of those things. There's no rhyme or reason to lat pulls or rib cages or things like that."
The Cubs began Spring Training feeling they had enough depth as far as the rotation is concerned, even though Scott Baker is coming back from Tommy John surgery. Baker was not expected to be ready when the regular season begins, which left Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman and Travis Wood in the rotation.
"We'll find out a lot more [Monday] and the next day," Sveum said. "Hopefully, it's nothing and he doesn't get set back according to Opening Day. If so, then we have to evaluate the situation. We have the depth and it's not that big a deal that way. It's too early to know what plan we're going to take."
Garza said he wasn't even throwing a maximum effort, but throwing 80 to 85 percent.
"I'm not going to push it if I don't have to," he said. "I've done everything you could ask so it's just patience. I've got to sit back and let things heal now I guess."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.