The Chicago Cubs' starting rotation suffered another body blow Monday when the team announced that right-hander Matt Garza will be out indefinitely with what's described as "stress reaction" in the back of his pitching elbow.
Garza has not pitched since July 21. He left his start that day with what the Cubs said was cramping in his right triceps.
It's very possible Garza will not pitch again this season. He had hoped to start Tuesday at San Diego, but now the Cubs will bring up left-hander Brooks Raley from Class AAA (Des Moines) Iowa to make his major league debut. Garza's bullpen session was cut short Friday, and over the weekend the team sent Garza back to Chicago for further tests.
"We'll keep re-evaluating him and will make that decision when he picks up a ball and starts throwing again," general manager Jed Hoyer told reporters in San Diego before Monday night's 2-0 loss to the Padres. "To speculate right now on his status for the season wouldn't be right. Today, we got the diagnosis, talked about it and we'll make a decision when it's right. It's too early to speculate on the remainder of the season or when he'll start throwing."
Garza won't even pick up a baseball for another two weeks, and with the team hopelessly out of the race, there's no need to push it. For now, the starting rotation consists of new ace Jeff Samardzija, followed by Travis Wood, Chris Volstad, Justin Germano and Raley.
The Cubs were actively shopping Garza before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, but Hoyer admitted Garza isn't likely going anywhere anytime soon. Garza cannot become a free agent until after the 2013 season, but if he were healthy, he could have netted the Cubs a big return in a trade.
"He's likely to be a member of the Cubs in 2013," Hoyer said. "And we're excited to have him. (A trade of Garza) is the last thing we're thinking of. We're just trying to get this guy healthy."