Matt Garza expected to resume throwing by Saturday

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Matt Garza’s rehab from a strained lat muscle was put on hold this week after he was scratched from his first start with Double-A Tennessee due to what was termed as a “dead arm,” but it sounds like it was only a minor setback.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times this afternoon that Garza is expected to resume throwing by Saturday. If all goes well, he could make a minor league rehab start by the end of next week.

“It sounds like it’s just soreness, just normal stuff,” Sveum said. “Hopefully that continues.”

Garza began experiencing some symptoms after he threw a simulated game and a bullpen session last weekend in Milwaukee, but the Cubs are confident that his issue is muscular in nature and not structural. Either way, while he was initially aiming to return by the middle of next month, late-May now looks like the best-case scenario.

Garza, an impending free agent, was limited to just 18 starts last season due to a stress reaction in his right elbow. He’ll need prove his health in order for the rebuilding Cubs to generate any trade interest.

Must-Click Link: Sherri Nichols, Sabermetic Pioneer

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If you are old enough and lame enough as I am, you may have lurked around on sabermetic message boards in the 1990s. If you did, you may have heard of Sherri Nichols, who back in the day, was a significant contributor to the advancement of statistical analysis, particularly defensive analysis.

While it’s probably better that not everyone is as old and nerdy as me, the downside of it is that most people haven’t heard of Nichols and know nothing about her contributions. That changes today with Ben Lindbergh’s excellent analysis of Nichols and her work over at The Ringer, which I recommend that you all read.

The short version: Nichols is the one who planted the seed about on-base percentage being valuable in the mind of Baseball Prospectus Founder Gary Huckabay, back in the late 80s. She’s also the one most responsible for the rise of zone-based defensive metrics in the 1990s, such as Defensive Average, which she created and which served as the basis for other such metrics going forward. She also played a critical role in the development of RetroSheet, which collected almost all extant box score and play-by-play information going back to the turn of the 20th century, thereby making so much of the information available at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs possible. A key contribution there: making the information free and available to everyone, rather than closing the underlying data off as proprietary and either charging for access or keeping it in-house like some recent data collectors have chosen to do. Ahem.

A larger takeaway than all of Nichols’ contributions is just how loathe the baseball community was to listen to a woman back then. I mean, yeah, they’re still loathe to listen to women now, as indicated by the small number of women who hold jobs in baseball operations departments, but back then it was even worse, as evidenced by Lindbergh’s stories and Nichols’ anecdotes.

A great read and a great history lesson.