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.
The Cubs face the tall task of going up against Matt Harvey today as they take on the Mets at 1:20 p.m. Harvey is 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA and a WHIP of 0.73. We’ll get to Cubs manager Dale Sveum’s comments about Harvey in a bit. First, Cubs pitcher Matt Garza made his rehab start at Class AAA Iowa last night and proclaimed himself ready to come off the DL.
“I don’t need another start down here,” Garza told Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register after he pitched 6 scoreless innings. “There’s no reason for me to stay in the minor leagues.”
Garza gave up 2 hits while walking none and striking out six as he picked up the victory. He threw 75 pitches, 53 strikes, in his fourth rehab start. Garza faced 20 batters, and both hits were singles.
The NHL announced Friday the finalists for the 2013 Jack Adams Trophy, given annually to the coach of the year. Named the three finalists were the Blackhawks' Joel Quenneville, Anaheim's Bruce Boudreau and Ottawa's Paul MacLean.
Quenneville led the Hawks to an NHL-best 36-7-5 record and 77 points to capture the second Presidents' Trophy in franchise history. With Quenneville at the helm, the Blackhawks began the season with points in an NHL-record 24 consecutive games (21-0-3) and finished the season with a .802 points percentage, which was good for fifth best in NHL history.
The team's 77 points set a league record for the most points in a 48-game season, topping the 1938-39 Boston Bruins (74 points).
Workers who take care of 23,000 of the state’s disabled in community settings are asking for a pay raise, but Illinois’ disastrous finances might keep them from getting one.
These workers make an average of $9.35 an hour, according to the state’s largest employees union. The wage is small enough for some to qualify for public assistance even though they do what is clearly a difficult job.
"We can’t do this without them," said Shawn Jeffers, executive director of the Little City Foundation in Palatine. "We don’t have an alternative workforce."
Patrick Kane on Thursday was announced as one of the three finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy given to the player who has exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.
Kane was named along with Matt Moulson of the Islanders and Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay.
Kane ranked fifth in the NHL with 55 points while generating only 8 penalty minutes – the lowest total among the league’s top 20 scorers.
“Anytime you’re up for an award it’s exciting,” Kane said. “I thought maybe I had a chance for this one. It kind of speaks volumes of where my game has gone since my rookie season. I remember I used to take a lot of penalties that were kind of unnecessary. I kind of got that out of my game.”
Nate Robinson made a pitch to return to the Bulls next season, but acknowledged that the odds may be against him.
Robinson was an amazing story this season. He signed a non-guaranteed, minimum-salary contract last July, then ended up being the team’s hero of an improbable playoff run.
He scored 34 points in a triple-overtime win over Brooklyn on April 27, then added 27 points in a surprising Game 1 win at Miami on May 6.
“I would love to (return). Honestly, I really would,” Robinson said in the locker room, an ice bag resting on his right thigh. “Knowing the guys that we have here, I know there’s probably limited space for me, but we’ll see how it goes.
“I love this team. I love these guys and if I could stay here, it would be wonderful.
It was another teapot-tempest kind of day earlier as Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol denied a web site report that he wants out of town. The site, Bleacher Nation, wrote a story based on tweets and photos sent to the site by someone who photographed Marmol and his agents in a public area of his apartment building. The report had Marmol saying he “can’t wait” to get out of Chicago.
“I know what I said, but I didn’t say anything about baseball,” Marmol said. “I don’t know who that guy is or why he tweeted it or whatever. I don’t know where that came from.”
Marmol went on to say he loves Chicago and wants to stay here. The web site since has apologized for the way it handled the story.
State Rep. Ron Sandack, a Downers Grove Republican, has pulled out of the race to be the next Illinois GOP chairman.
"I look forward to working with the new chairman and together focusing on rebuilding a Republican brand," Sandack said in a statement, "As I have stated several times, we must be more inclusive to revive and revitalize our party.”
We explained this weekend why the next Republican chairman faces a difficult, important task for the party.
After getting snubbed in voting for the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player, Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews on Wednesday was named one of the three finalists for the Selke Trophy, which goes to the league’s top defensive forward.
Toews was voted one of the three finalists by the Professional Hockey Writers Association along with Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk and Boston’s Patrice Bergeron.
“It’s a good feeling for sure,” Toews said. “For a while it was Kaner (Patrick Kane) and I being mentioned in the Hart conversation and I don’t think you get to the point without great teammates and a great team behind you, and the same goes for this.
The Cubs will send Carlos Villanueva to the mound tonight against the Colorado Rockies. Early this afternoon, it was warm at Wrigley Field, with the wind blowing out. The wind since has shifted, and it’s cool, but not chilly. It’s a big start for Villanueva, who could be headed to the bullpen when Matt Garza comes off the disabled list later this month. Or maybe not.
Manager Dale Sveum today said the Cubs could consider a six-man rotation for the short term once Garza gets back.