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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.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.

It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.