Matt Garza did some throwing yesterday for the first time since being shut down in mid-July with a stress reaction in his elbow, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
Garza announced via Twitter that he “felt great.”
Prior to the injury Garza was rumored to be on the trading block and for a while the Cubs held out hope that he could return in time to make an August waiver deal possible, but he never made any real progress.
That also makes it tough for the Cubs to trade Garza this offseason, whereas a healthy Garza with one year of arbitration eligibility remaining before hitting the open market as a free agent next winter would have been a hot commodity.
In two seasons with the Cubs the 29-year-old right-hander has a 3.52 ERA and 293 strikeouts in 302 innings.
The Mariners signed free agent left-hander Wade LeBlanc to a one-year deal, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported Saturday. LeBlanc previously signed a minor league agreement with the Yankees, but later requested his release following the team’s Grapefruit League outing on Friday. The Mariners have yet to confirm the deal or disclose its terms.
This is LeBlanc’s second stint with the Mariners in two years. He was initially acquired by Seattle in the summer of 2016 after the Blue Jays traded him for cash considerations, and produced a 4.50 ERA, 1.6 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 in 50 innings before getting designated for assignment in August. The 33-year-old southpaw was last seen in the majors with the Pirates, with whom he generated another 4.50 ERA, 2,3 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 68 innings in 2017. He entered free agency after the club declined his $1.25 million option for 2018.
The signing comes at a fortuitous moment for the Mariners, who were pressed to find additional bullpen depth after right-handed reliever David Phelps tore his ulnar collateral ligament last week. As with most injuries of that kind, Phelps is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2018 season. LeBlanc made a full transition to the bullpen in 2017 and boasts the kind of reverse platoon splits (.216/.270/.389 vs. righties and .292/.333/.500 vs. lefties in 2017) that will make him an effective replacement for the right-handed Phelps.