Optimism for Matt Garza, Scott Baker
"Both guys should be ready to start the year," Epstein said Wednesday.
"Garza we expect to be full go in spring training and ready to start the year. And Baker, if he stays on schedule that's laid out for him now -- he's up to about 75 pitches by the end of March. So we'll just make a call from there. Both guys are on a nice timetable for the start of the season."
Garza was expected to be dealt last season before injuring his elbow just more than a week before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. He was first diagnosed with a cramp in the back of his right arm but was eventually determined to have a stress reaction.
Garza finished the season with a 5-7 record and a 3.91 ERA in 18 starts. It was the first time he did not make at least 30 starts since 2007 with the Minnesota Twins. He is expected to lead the Cubs' rotation in 2013, with the possibility that he could be traded away for prospects at midseason.
The Cubs signed Baker to a one-year deal in November. He pitched in only 23 games in 2011 and none last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April.