Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Baseball [Print without images]

Thursday, February 28, 2013
Matt Garza 'OK' after throwing

By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com

MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza said he felt "OK" after throwing from 60 feet on Thursday as he recovers from a strained left lat.

"It was nerve-racking, but after I got done it was like a sigh of relief," Garza said. "Eleven days inside stinks.

"It is progress and I have been making a lot of progression, so I am pretty pumped."

When asked how many pitches he threw, Garza said: "I threw just enough. That's all I can tell you.

"I threw about 15 minutes and it was a good toss, and now I will wait till the next time. Now I have to take my foot off of the gas pedal. I am the type of person that gets excited and wants to keep pushing, but this type of stuff, [my strained lat] feels great, so now I have to ease off on it. I am excited. It is fine today."

Garza is next scheduled to throw Saturday.

"Rest and see where we are at on Saturday," he said. "That's when I throw again. That is the plan."

Garza, who missed the last two months of last season with an elbow strain, said the goal is to be able to pitch pain free. He injured his left side on Feb. 17.

"The schedule isn't for Opening Day or opening week," he said. "The schedule is for when my body is ready. I am not going to rush this thing. I spent six months rehabbing, getting back from the injury last year. Time is definitely on my side right now."

Manager Dale Sveum said it's too soon to guess when Garza might be ready.

"It is way too early to evaluate," Sveum said. "We have today before we think that far down the road. If things start to go well today we are planning that he will be ready at the start of the season."

Garza can become a free agent in November. The Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers were talking trade possibilities with the Cubs last season when Garza was injured.

At this point, the Cubs and the 29-year-old right-hander are preaching caution.

"It is a huge deal," Garza said. "Pitching April 1 and pitching April 15, it is three or four games, but if I pitch April 1, I might reinjure it in June and be out. If I give it the other two weeks and I take my time, maybe not."

Garza said he has been able to do some conditioning work, but Thursday was the first time he threw a ball in 11 days.