Cubs

Trade updates remain stagnent, Garza prepares to return

829183.png

Trade updates remain stagnent, Garza prepares to return

While Saturday morning found the Cubs in a holding pattern in regards to the looming trade deadline, this time remains far from uneventful for Matt Garza.

Not only is Garza the subject of trade rumors, hes recovering from a right arm injury that forced him out of his last start after only three innings last Saturday. Its uncertain when -- or if, in the instance of a trade -- hell return to the Cubs rotation, though it appears he could be ready for the Cubs series against the Dodgers that begins Friday in Los Angeles.

But all that might take a back seat to some personal news. Garzas wife is expecting the couples fourth child. The Cubs reported doctors will induce labor on Serina Garza on Tuesday, the same day of the nonwaiver trade deadline.

As for the injury, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Garza is progressing well. An MRI this week on Garzas throwing arm revealed a slight fluid buildup in his right triceps area.

Garza threw from flat ground Saturday morning before the Cubs afternoon game against St. Louis at Wrigley Field. The Cubs look to even the series after Fridays 9-6 setback.

Everything is gradually progressing, Sveum said of Garza. Hes doing much better and well try to get him out there late next week. Everything is going really well, so it if I had to say, it should happen. Everything is just getting better each day, so thats looking pretty good.

Garza is expected to throw a bullpen session Monday, and the Cubs will evaluate his progress after that. Sveum added that Garza may be ready to pitch against the Dodgers.

He could. Were looking at late next week so well see what happens, Sveum said.

Meanwhile, nothing new has happened regarding the Cubs and potential trades. Garza and Ryan Dempster remain on the team, but are considered the Cubs prize pieces on the trade front.

Sveum said the players and coaches will all be happy once the deadline passes, and the rumor mill takes a break.

I think everybodys going to be glad its all over with, he said. Its really not over with a lot of the times because of the waiver wires and all that. But the main things will be shut down one way or the other.

The Cubs are so good on defense, they even elicited an emotional reaction from Kyle Hendricks

The Cubs are so good on defense, they even elicited an emotional reaction from Kyle Hendricks

Kyle Hendricks never shows emotion on the mound.

Never.

That's what made his simple gesture — mouthing the word "wow" — during Thursday night's 1-0 win over the Brewers so intriguing.

Albert Almora Jr. had just made a nice running catch on the warning track in dead center in the top of the sixth inning, yet another highlight-reel play from the young outfielder.

Hendricks thought it was an extra-base hit for Brewers leadoff hitter Lorenzo Cain, but Almora turned it into Out No. 2 in the inning.

"I see the ball hit, I'm just hoping to keep it to a double at that point," Hendricks said. "And then when he reaches his glove up and catches it, yeah, it's an instant reaction. 

"You're not expecting that at all. I think I mouthed that over to [Tommy] La Stella at third base; he said the same thing. It was a hell of a catch. That's what he's been doing lately. It's fun to watch him out there."

Hendricks pitches so devoid of any emotion, he's even poked fun at himself by using Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" as his walk-up song.

His Cubs teammates — including Kyle Schwarber Thursday night — describe Hendricks as pitching with "no pulse out there." If you just watched his reactions and body language, you wouldn't know if he's throwing a no-hitter or getting shelled.

Hendricks also works quickly, always keeping his defense on his toes. He struck out only 5 batters in 7 shutout innings Thursday, so he needed to rely on his defense a bunch.

It wasn't just Almora that stepped up behind Hendricks. Javy Baez made a spectacular leaping grab and also turned a lightning-quick double play to get the Cubs out of a jam. And Anthony Rizzo did his usual work with a couple of nice plays the night after committing his first error in more than a calendar year (a Cubs record). 

Schwarber — who provided the only offense of the game with a lined shot into the Budweiser patio in right field — loves standing in left field and watching his teammates play defense.

"Everybody's talking about Almora," Schwarber said. "I saw that in High-A, the way that he goes after balls and he's able to get there. 

"It's just a lot of fun to watch him go out there and make those catches. And obviously Javy out there, too, just Javy being Javy."

The Cubs don't appear to be on a trajectory toward following in the footsteps of the 2016 team that played defense at a historic level, but they also proved in the series opener with the Brewers that they can still win with pitching and defense.

With the starting rotation looking more like themselves and the weather conditions getting back to normal, the defense can once again settle in as a strength of this team.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 6th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 6th homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa once again terrorized the Padres for his sixth homer of 1998, coming as his last blast in the month of April.

Slammin' Sammy went deep in the first inning, a two-run shot off San Diego starter Joey Hamilton for 434 feet, his longest shot of the campaign to date. It staked the Cubs to an early lead they did not relinquish in a 3-1 victory.

Six down, 60 to go.

It's crazy to see how slow of a start Sosa got to a record-setting season, but I guess 20 homers in one month will get you back on track pretty quickly.

Fun fact: Kevin Tapani shut down a Padres lineup that included Tony Gwynn, Steve Finley, Ken Caminiti and Greg Vaughn, holding San Diego to just one run in 8 innings. Rod Beck picked up his 8th save on the year.

Fun fact 2: The game took just over two hours (2:06) to complete, as both starting pitchers worked quickly and efficiently and each team made just one pitching change apiece.