Cubs' Matt Garza suffers mild lat strain

Chicago Cubs right-hander Matt Garza faced live hitters for the first time since suffering his elbow injury last summer yesterday. He looked good before cutting his session short by walking off the mound holding his left side. While it is certainly cause for concern, manager Dale Sveum characterized the injury as a mild lat strain and said Garza will be fine, according to Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune.

The Cubs acquired Garza from the Tampa Bay Rays prior to the 2011 season along with Zach Rosscup and Fernandez Perez in exchange for Hak-Ju Lee, Chris Archer, Robinson Chirinos, Sam Fuld and Brandon Guyer.

The right-hander was fantastic in his first season in Chicago, maintaining a 3.32 ERA over 31 starts with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.13. His second Cubs’ campaign was cut short due to his elbow injury.

If Garza wouldn’t have suffered an elbow injury, there appeared to be a good chance Chicago would have traded him to jumpstart its rebuilding effort. While the Cubs have said they hope to retain Garza, there seems to be a willingness to move him. If he’s able to remain healthy and pitch well, he could be one of the most coveted starters on the trade market this summer.

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