The Chicago Cubs have kept right-hander Matt Garza idle for some time after he suffered a mild lat sprain earlier this spring, but the starter has been cleared to resume his throwing program, according to Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago.
Garza sustained the mild injury on Feb. 17 while throwing batting practice to teammates. Since then he's received treatment and rested.
Despite the setback, Garza has maintained his confidence that he'll be ready to break camp with the team. Manager Dale Sveum has admitted that the right-hander will be cutting it close, but he also doesn't see why Garza won't be ready for the start of the season.
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At this point, Jeff Samardzija is the favorite to start the Cubs' season-opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 1. Still, this has yet to be finalized, as Sveum has said he'll wait until closer to the end of March to announce an official decision.
Garza started 31 games for the Cubs in 2011 after being acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays, but he was limited by injuries to 18 appearances last year. When he was healthy enough to throw, the 29-year-old posted an ERA of 3.91. Over seven seasons in the majors he owns an ERA of 3.84 with a 2.46 strikeout-to-walk ratio.