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Matt Garza injury: Cubs' RHP may miss start of season

The right-hander strained a left lat muscle during his first bullpen session on Sunday. An MRI will likely determine his fate with regards to Opening Day.


Matt Garza's rehabbed right arm "felt really strong" during his first live batting practice session on Sunday, according to general manager Jed Hoyer, which would be great news for the Chicago Cubs except the right-hander then went on to strain a lat muscle in his left side.

The severity of Garza's strain is unknown for now, but an MRI taken on the affected area should determine whether or not he'll be able to take the mound for the Cubs to start the season, reports Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune:

Garza will have an MRI to determine the extent of the injury...

Manager Dale Sveum said Garza still was sore Monday, "but there was no discoloring" around the injured area. It's too early to know, but Garza could be on the disabled list opening day.

The Cubs have to determine how much rest he'll need before starting again.

With more than six weeks to go until Opening Day, the chances are good that Garza will have enough time to work through the strain, even if he falls a bit behind everyone else in camp. The right-hander's primary focus in camp was the strength of his elbow -- which sidelined him for the last two-plus months of 2012 -- but now he'll have expand that to include his trunk muscles.

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If it is determined that he does have to begin the season on the disabled list, it's likely that both Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva will begin the season in the club's starting rotation: one to supplement Garza, the other for TJ rehabber Scott Baker.

Garza is entering his final year before hitting free agency, and has been deemed a likely deadline trade candidate if he can maintain his health.