Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Cubs right-hander Matt Garza tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings Saturday in his second minor league rehab start with the Double-A Tennessee Smokies. It was his third rehab start overall.
Garza was scheduled to throw between four and five innings on Saturday, but two walks ballooned his pitch count early and he was pulled after his 66th delivery of the evening. He allowed three hits but racked up two strikeouts against the Birmingham Barons — the Double-A affiliate of the White Sox.
Garza will head to Triple-A Iowa next for two more rehab outings. The struggling Cubs are probably tempted to bring him back a little early, but he is going to be their best trade chip at the July 31 deadline so it’s better that he’s fully healthy.
The 29-year-old right-hander has been out all season because of a lat strain. He has a 3.52 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 8.7 K/9 in 301 2/3 innings (49 starts) since being traded to Chicago in January 2011.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.
It’s been a tough season for the mythology of Jonny Gomes‘ veteran clubhouse savior reputation.
First he signed with the rebuilding Braves and performed poorly while Atlanta fell apart after a surprisingly decent start. Then he was traded to the Royals, for whom he played just 12 games and hit .167. And now Kansas City has left Gomes off the ALDS roster.
It makes sense, though. Gomes’ only real use to the Royals would be as a pinch-hitter versus left-handed pitching, but manager Ned Yost rarely pinch-hits and will no doubt be more willing to use 25th man Terrance Gore as a pinch-runner in the late innings.
Beyond that, not many surprises on the Royals’ roster for their series against the Astros. They went with 11 pitchers, which means both Chris Young and Kris Medlen are on the roster. Jeremy Guthrie is not.