ST. LOUIS The Cubs didnt feel obligated to trade Matt Garza, and now its that much harder to see them getting maximum value by the July 31 deadline.
But the contenders will still be circling to see how Garzas elbow responds after getting pulled from Saturday nights game against the St. Louis Cardinals, a 12-0 loss that was 0-0 when he left as a precaution before the start of the fourth inning.
The morning after feeling cramps in his right triceps, Garza seemed to be in a good mood, and not just because manager Dale Sveum had approved his idea to dress up as superheroes for the flight from St. Louis to Pittsburgh.
He did seem to come in here today with a lot better frame of mind, Sveum said Sunday. Im very optimistic that hes not going to have to be on the DL, and hopefully even make his next start.
Garza spent almost three weeks on the disabled list last season with what was termed a right elbow bone contusion. He admitted that any pitcher gets nervous when you feel something in that area. Sveum thought this is a completely different part of the elbow. The Cubs should have a better idea by Monday.
It doesnt feel the same, Garza said. I dont think its a bone contusion, a bruise or anything like that. I just think its a cramp.
Its a stiff muscle. I had better movement today than I did yesterday, so thats a positive.
Garza is stubborn and competitive and would probably rather muscle up if it were up to him: I hate going on the DL.
That attitude is what pitching coach Chris Bosio loves to hear. There are compelling reasons to hold onto the 28-year-old Garza who remains under club control through 2013 and build a rotation around him.
Theres always a case when youre dealing with a young starting pitcher thats a horse and can dominate a game, Sveum said. Those are the million-dollar questions that an organization always has to deal with, and sometimes its almost like gambling if you do trade guys like that.
The gamble is (if) the guys you get in return can somehow fill that role, too. And you might get one, two, three guys that can be very productive major-league players. But we all know (about) those trades: Sometimes you get dominant guys, and sometimes it never works out.
This could change the odds.
Garzas next scheduled start would be Friday against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. Thursdays off-day buys the Cubs a little more time. Justin Germano who was just acquired as insurance from the Boston Red Sox for cash would likely be next in line for the rotation.
The Cubs are already on alert for a Ryan Dempster trade, and waiting to get more information on Garza (5-7, 3.91), another difference-maker who might be able to swing a pennant race.
The trade thing, Im not so concerned about that, Garza said. If it does hurt the team, what they had in mind its not like I tried (to get injured). Id rather go out there and throw eight or nine (innings) and come up in here and say, Hey, I cant throw the ball (anymore). It sucks and Im just gonna try and get ready for the next one.