Matt Garza’s right elbow didn’t respond the way the Cubs hoped, so he will be heading back to Chicago for further evaluation.
Garza’s plans to start Tuesday night in San Diego—“You better effin’ believe it, dude”—have been scrapped and he will wind up on the disabled list.
This is certainly a blow, even for a team toiling in fifth place in the NL Central. Garza hasn't had a lights-out season, but he's certainly the most reliable arm in their rotation.
At 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA, Garza hasn't won two consecutive decisions all season, but he was throwing well in the last start prior to his triceps injury on July 21. Any rhythm he was developing has now been interrupted, and it could send him back to the drawing board.
Mooney confirms Garza's most recent setback involves the elbow and triceps area, and that an MRI didn't reveal any major damage, but the exact nature or details beyond that have not yet been revealed.
This injury also impacts the Cubs off the field. Garza, 28, was the subject of a plethora of trade rumors before the July 31 deadline, but those talks aren't necessarily dead. Teams can place players on waivers before August 31, and teams can place a claim on him.
The Cubs would have put Garza through waivers like most teams choose to with their star or expensive players. They want to get a better read on the market, and there's no risk involved because teams can pull the player back whenever they choose.
All of that speculation is probably dead now. A 15-day stint on the DL will likely deter possible suitors. It will also damage the likelihood of a Cubs victory once every five days.
Stay tuned as more details about Garza's injury come to light. For now, the Cubs will have to scramble to fill the spot starter role. As Mooney points out, however, Triple-A arms Brooks Raley, Chris Rusin and Casey Coleman are already three that can be crossed off the list, as all made recent starts and the quick turnaround will likely be too much to ask from the pitchers.