Matt Garza vows to be ready for Opening Day

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Matt Garza didn’t make another start after July 19 this past season due to a stress reaction in his throwing elbow, but he’s hoping for better luck in 2013.

According to David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com, Garza hasn’t had any issues with his elbow since he resumed throwing earlier this month. Barring any setbacks, he fully expects to be ready for the start of the season.

“If spring training started tomorrow, I would be ready to go,” he said. “I’m not ready to pitch six innings today, but I will be ready to go when the season starts. I will be ready to go Opening Day, that’s guaranteed.”

Garza was mentioned as a trade candidate prior to the injury and he could be on the block again if he proves his health during spring training. The 29-year-old right-hander is arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter and can become a free agent following the 2013 season.

As of now, the Cubs’ rotation projects to include Garza, Jeff Samardzija and offseason additions Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman and Carlos Villanueva. Scott Baker was also signed this offseason, but he will likely begin the season on the disabled list as he continues to make his way back from Tommy John surgery.

Report: Welington Castillo to be suspended 80 games for violating Joint Drug Agreement

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirms a report from journalist Américo Celado that White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement. Castillo was believed to have used a steroid, but according to Rosenthal, the substance was not a steroid. More details should come on Thursday.

Castillo, 31, entered Wednesday’s action batting .270/.314/.477 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 118 plate appearances. He has gotten the bulk of the work behind the plate, backed up by Omar Narváez.

Castillo’s absence will likely prompt the White Sox to call up Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte. Smith battled an ankle injury in March and April, so he got a late start to the season. In 102 PA at Triple-A, he has hit .283/.343/.457.