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Cubs pitcher Matt Garza could start playing catch this week

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Cubs’ right-hander Matt Garza, the former 15-game winner sidelined for more than a week with a lat strain, could start playing catch again this week, and that should be just in time to avoid opening the season on the disabled list, manager Dale Sveum said.

``Every day he’s getting better and better. Today he said he felt really good,” Sveum said. “He was able to bend and everything. Obviously, it’ll be close, but it looks like he’s going to make it.

``If he’s capable of tossing here in a few days, I don’t see why he wouldn’t be ready for Opening Day.’’

By that, Sveum was not referring literally to Opening Day.

``You have an off day, so you can manipulate that a little bit, too,’’ he said of where they could drop Garza into the rotation the first time around, if he needs a few extra days toward the end of camp.

While it might seem obvious that Jeff Samardzija is now the clear favorite to start the April 1 opener in Pittsburgh, Sveum still says he won’t make that call until closer to March 20.



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