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Matt Garza to undergo MRI on strained lat muscle

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Matt Garza was hoping to start 2013 on a healthy note after he was shut down last season due to a stress reaction in his throwing elbow, but things might not work out that way.

Garza was 20 pitches into a batting practice session yesterday before he had to cut things short due to a lat strain. According to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com, the Cubs plan to send him for an MRI to get a read on the extent of the injury.

“The good news is his arm felt really strong,” Hoyer said Monday. “He was throwing really well. It’s unfortunate, for sure, and it’s going to set him back a little bit. But we’re still really confident.”

The Cubs obviously didn’t want to take any chances this early in the spring, so the hope is that the injury is minor. However, in the event that he needs to start the season on the disabled list, both Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva would likely end up with rotation spots.

Garza, 29, had a 3.91 ERA and 96/32 K/BB ratio over 103 2/3 innings last season prior to his elbow injury. He’s owed $10.25 million in 2013 and can become a free agent next offseason.

Brett Lawrie will take a pay cut to avoid arbitration with White Sox

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 12: Brett Lawrie #15 of the Chicago White Sox fields a ground ball during batting practice before the start of the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 12, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.

The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.

Cubs sign LHP Brian Duensing to a one-year, $2 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Brian Duensing #50 of the Baltimore Orioles throws a pitch in the eleventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.

The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.