Garza's return from elbow injury is uncertain

Garza's return from elbow injury is uncertain

Garza's return from elbow injury is uncertain
SAN DIEGO -- As of Saturday, Cubs pitcher Matt Garza fully expected to make his start Tuesday night. Now, it's not certain whether the right-hander will pitch again this season.

Garza was diagnosed Monday with a stress reaction in the back of his right elbow, and will be sidelined indefinitely. Brooks Raley will be promoted from Triple-A Iowa to make his Major League debut on Tuesday against the Padres.

Garza has not pitched since July 21 when he had to come out of the game after three innings because of cramping in his right triceps. He had a good bullpen session on Saturday in Los Angeles, but his arm was stiff on Sunday and he was sent back to Chicago to be examined. Tests on Monday revealed the injury.

Cubs reliever Blake Parker was diagnosed with the same injury earlier this year, and he last pitched June 1. He was scheduled to make his first rehab start on Monday for Triple-A Iowa.

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer would not predict whether there's time for Garza (5-7, 3.91 ERA) to return this year.

"We'll keep reevaluating him and will make that decision when he picks up a ball and starts throwing again," Hoyer said. "To speculate right now on his status for the season wouldn't be right. Today, we got the diagnosis, talked about it and we'll make a decision when it's right. It's too early to speculate on the remainder of the season or when he'll start throwing."

Garza won't be allowed to pick up a baseball for the next two weeks.

"He felt really good, as he told [the media] on Saturday, and that's the surprise of it," Hoyer said. "Matt's a competitor and he'll want to get out there and get going. He'll be eager to get back and we'll wind up holding him back to an extent."

With the loss of Garza, Jeff Samardzija now has senior status on the Cubs rotation, and this is his first year as a full-time starter.

"It's the way things go sometimes," Samardzija said. "You just have to be ready for anything."

Samardzija expected Garza to return sooner rather than later.

"Garza really loves to pitch," Samardzija said. "He's not a guy to take a day or ask for a day or complain about how he feels. You know if he's not feeling well, he's definitely not feeling well. Hopefully, he can get back as soon as possible. When you have a guy like Garza, it turns the rotation up a notch for sure."