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.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.