Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
PEORIA, Ariz. — Recently acquired Cubs pitcher Matt Garza rebounded from his worst spring outing to pitch his best one Monday against the Seattle Mariners. His fastball was sharper as he entered the phase of camp where he mixes in all of his pitches.
But for all the progress he made on the mound, his most impressive progress might have been at the plate, where the career American Leaguer executed sacrifice bunts in both trips.
“I was a little upset on the first one — I was supposed to get it down the third-base line,’’ said Garza, who has been in the lineup, instead of the DH, both times he has started at AL parks this spring. “But I got them down, did the job and was able to get guys in scoring position.’’
As one press-box wag said, “He’s a better bunter than two-thirds of the guys in that [Mariners] dugout.’’
Reliever John Grabow, who has been sidelined the last two weeks with a sore shoulder, “threw great’’ on Monday in side work that could pave the way to a return to game action this week.
Meanwhile, utility infield candidate Augie Ojeda remained sidelined nearly a week after experiencing back spasms and is considered day-to-day. Shortstop Starlin Castro was fine the day after bruising his right knee sliding into second base.
Outfield prospects Brett Jackson (sore shoulder) and Brad Snyder (rib cage) are listed as day-to-day.
Bogus rumor of the day:A report from Texas suggested the Cubs were expected to acquire Rangers infielder Michael Young — despite the fact that officials for the teams haven’t talked since camp opened and that the Cubs’ payroll is tapped while Young has $16 million per year coming for the next three seasons.
◆ Castro was 6-for-6 over the weekend, boosting his spring average to .485.