Garza to return Tuesday; Villanueva to bullpen
So the Cubs have made their decision, or Matt Garza made it for them. Garza will come off the disabled list Tuesday night and pitch against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. The upshot is that Carlos Villanueva gets bumped from the rotation and will go to the bullpen.
Garza has not pitched since last July. A “stress reaction” in his right elbow shut him down last year. Early in spring training this year, he suffered a left-lat-muscle strain. After 4 minor-league rehab starts, including a 6-inning performance this week at Class AAA Iowa, he proclaimed himself ready to go.
“I think when they told me go get 6 and I threw 6, that was enough lobbying that I could actually argue,” he said this morning after tossing a bullpen session at Wrigley Field. “I was excited, and I’m just ready to do my part. I’m just excited, just happy that I don’t have to go rehab again. This actually means something. But I can’t wait. It’s been 10 months in the making. I’m excited to get back out there.”
Manager Dale Sveum said the Cubs briefly considered a six-man rotation but that it didn’t make much sense to do that. So Villanueva goes to the pen, where he has seen most of his major-league action.
“He was very professional about it and understood,” Sveum said. “We all know that he’s kind of been in this role, the swingman, so to speak. So he understands it. He accepts it. Very professional about the whole thing.”
Scott Feldman pitches for the Cubs today against the Mets. Feldman is 3-3 with a 2.53 ERA, a WHIP of 1.15 and a FIP of 4.33. The BABIP is .218, so we’ll see if balls that had been caught start to fall for hits as the BABIP normalizes.
From the game notes: Feldman’s 7 unearned runs allowed rank tied for third most in the majors. Washington’s Stephen Strasburg has given up a major-league high 9 unearned runs … Anthony Rizzo has not struck out in his last 35 at-bats dating to the sixth inning on May 7. That’s tied for the third-longest active stretch in the majors without a strikeout, with Andrew McCutchen. Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy leads the majors, having not struck out in his last 38 at-bats … Cubs leadoff batters are hitting .368 (14-for-38) with 2 homers and 3 walks to start the game while putting up an OPS of 1.151.
Class AAA Iowa fell 9-8 to Tucson in a game that featured 35 hits. Guillermo Moscoso started and worked 5 innings, giving up 9 hits and 4 runs (2 earned). He walked none and struck out eight. Logan Watkins hit his third homer. Brett Jackson was 4-for-5 with a double. Josh Vitters was 3-for-3 with a double. Vitters has hit safely in five straight, going 7-for-18.
Class AA Tennessee beat Chattanooga 4-3. Kyle Hendricks got the win, pitching 7 innings and giving up 6 hits and 3 runs. Hendricks has 5 quality starts. He’s 3-2 with a 2.82 ERA. Matt Szczur (.294) had his seventh multihit game in the last nine, going 2-for-5. Christian Villanueva went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles and his team-leading 21st RBI. He also leads the Smokies with 13 doubles.
Class A Daytona swept a doubleheader from Lakeland, 5-1 and 7-4. Jorge Soler and Dustin Geiger combined to go 8-for-8 in the first game. Soler hit his sixth homer, going 4-for-4. Geiger was 4-for-4 with 3 doubles, a triple and 4 RBI. Pitcher Yeiper Castillo picked up his first win, going 7 innings and giving up 4 hits and 1 run. He is 1-0 with a 2.33 ERA.
In the second game, Soler went 3-for-6 with a double to finish the doubleheader 7-for-10 with a double, a homer and 4 runs. Geiger extended a hit streak to five games (12-for-20) by going 3-for-4 with 2 walks. He finished the doubleheader 7-for-8 with 4 doubles, a triple, 2 runs and 5 RBI. He reached base nine times in 10 plate appearances. Geiger leads the Florida State League in RBI (35). He was a 24th-rounder in 2010 out of Merritt Island (Fla.) High School. The Cubs credit scout Lukas McKnight.
The Kane County Cougars (A) lost 4-3 in 10 innings to Cedar Rapids despite getting 10 hits. Dillon Maples started and worked 5 innings, giving up 2 hits and 2 runs. He walked one and struck out five. Bijan Rademacher (.350) went 3-for-5 with a double.