Garza may miss first month; Samardzija to start opener
Now you can see why Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer went out and loaded up on starting pitching this off-season, even when everybody thought they were done when they signed Scott Baker and Scott Feldman last fall. In January, Epstein and Hoyer surprised a lot of people by signing Edwin Jackson to a four-year, $52 million contract.
Good thing, because on Sunday, the Cubs announced that No. 1 starter Matt Garza would start the season on the disabled list and Jeff Samardzija would start the season opener, April 1, at Pittsburgh. According to reports out of Mesa, Ariz., Garza experienced some tightness in his already injured left lat after playing catch Saturday. Manager Dale Sveum told the media Garza would be shut down for at least a week.
Sveum added Garza will get 2 spring-training starts at most and will miss the first two weeks to a month of the season.
That gives the Cubs a starting rotation to start the season, if they all stay healthy, of Samardzija, Jackson, Scott Feldman, lefty Travis Wood and right-hander Carlos Villanueva, who was signed before spring training as a swing man. Baker, who had Tommy John surgery last April, also is likely to open the season on the disabled list.
Samardzija was 9-13 with a 3.81 ERA last season, when he had a 2.39 ERA in his last 7 starts.
"He is a guy the players rally around because of his bulldog mentality when he is one the mound," Sveum said. "It is a very obvious choice, really."