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Riggins downplays Garza’s comments

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



MILWAUKEE — Matt Garza sounded Saturday night like a guy at odds with his new pitching coach and manager over how he plans to pitch.

But pitching coach Mark Riggins took Garza’s hot postgame comments in stride and said he expects to iron out the differences before Garza’s next start, in Colorado this weekend.

‘‘We’re going to talk and get on the same page,’’ Riggins said. ‘‘We’ve got to find a happy medium. He has his style of pitching. Every pitcher has their style. And then the big thing in pitching is, ‘When do I get off my style? When do I go to Plan B, or do I go to Plan C?’ You’re making adjustments constantly.’’

After getting hit hard by the top half of the Milwaukee Brewers’ order in a 6-0 loss Saturday, Garza was angry with himself, especially because he gave up most of the hits on offspeed pitches instead of his prized fastball.

‘‘That’s not my style, and that’s not who I am,’’ he said after the game. ‘‘And that’s something that’s going to change.’’

That was in direct contradiction to manager Mike Quade’s contention minutes earlier that ‘‘as his soft game goes, so goes how he’s going to do.’’

No big deal, said Riggins, who doesn’t see any finger-pointing in the comments he attributes more to ‘‘the heat of the moment’’ and Garza’s competitive fire.

The fact is, Garza seemed to settle into a more effective pattern after he, Riggins and catcher Geovany Soto talked after the first inning about mixing more of his pitches.

‘‘I think it was more about location,’’ said Riggins, who, like Quade, reiterated the belief that Garza’s success depends on his ability to be more effective with breaking pitches and changeups.

‘‘We’re learning each other every day, but we’ve got a great relationship,’’ Riggins said. ‘‘I feel comfortable talking to him. He feels comfortable coming to me. It’s a business. We have our say, and he has his say, and then it’s, ‘What’s best for the team here?’ It’s a team game; it’s not an individual game.’’

NOTES: The Cubs signed right-hander Ramon Ortiz, 37, to a minor-league deal and assigned him to Class AAA Iowa. Ortiz, who was 15-9 for the Anaheim Angels’ 2002 World Series champion, pitched 16 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season after spending 2008 in Japan and ’09 in the minors.

◆ Shortstop Starlin Castro was back in the lineup Sunday, if a little sore-mouthed. He took a throw to the face while covering on a stolen base Saturday night.

‘‘The runner was in front of me, and I didn’t see too well, and it was too quick,’’ he said.

◆ The Cubs have failed to steal a base in their first nine games for the first time since they opened the 1941 season with a 12-game drought. And until Marlon Byrd was thrown out at second for the first out of the ninth Sunday, they hadn’t even attempted one since Darwin Barney was thrown out at second in the second inning of the opener.



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