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Garza shrugs off fightin’ words from Reds’ Dusty Baker

Johnny CueWelingtCastillo

Johnny Cueto, Welington Castillo

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Updated: May 27, 2013 10:30PM

Matt Garza just smiled Monday after Reds manager Dusty Baker called him out for blasting Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto on Sunday after Cueto threw a pitch over the head of Cubs teammate David DeJesus.

Baker told Mark Sheldon of “You got something to say, you go over there and tell him. Johnny ain’t running. … Just put them in a room, let them box and let it be like hockey. Let them fight, somebody hits the ground, and then it’ll be over with. I’m serious about that.”

Garza, who said Sunday that Cueto needs to “grow the hell up” and “if he has something to say, he knows where to find my locker, and definitely I’ll find his,” shrugged off Baker’s comments as if following a company line already echoed by his manager and GM.

“We take things day to day, and today we have the White Sox,” Garza said. “New day, new game. And go [Jeff] Samardzija.”

Teammate Alfonso Soriano laughed at Baker’s fight comments and said he’s got $200 bucks on Garza to win the fight.

“If they fight, I bet on Garza because he’s my teammate,” Soriano said, “I bet a couple hundred. … And I want to be the judge. Garza wins all three rounds. No matter what happens.”

If there’s a serious side of the issue for the Cubs — beyond the teams’ next series in two weeks — it’s the fact that a player showed the kind of competitive anger and intensity often missing from this team the last two or three years.

A player who could be gone as a free agent in a few months.

“You want that fieriness and that fight,” GM Jed Hoyer said. “We lost Game 7 of the [2008] ALCS [while with Boston] in part because of that mentality, and he came in [with Tampa Bay] and just dominated us. He wants the ball in big spots, and he’s a great teammate and always on the top step cheering his teammates on.

“That toughness and that fire is something you always want. We need a lot of guys like that.”

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