"If this happened last year, you wouldn't see me, I'd be home," Garza said Sunday. "I like coming here and hanging out with the guys. I have a whole different perspective on this thing, and a whole different hunger, and I'm chomping at the bit."
Garza has been sidelined with a stress reaction in his right elbow. He last pitched on July 21, and finished 5-7 in 18 starts.
On Saturday, Garza was one of the veterans who met in manager Dale Sveum's office to give him feedback on the season.
"I told him we're on the verge of [100 losses] ... and I told him last year we were close to .500 and I hated every day of my life coming in here," Garza said. "It was miserable [last year]. I said, 'This year, I enjoy it, and I look forward to coming in here.' I said, 'You brought that back, so thank you.' Last year was a trying year. This year was a different type of mental fight, but I can actually enjoy this one."
Last season, the Cubs finished 71-91 under first-year manager Mike Quade, who was dismissed. What's been the difference with Sveum?
"He's more open, more sociable with us," Garza said. "He treats us like players. It's not like, 'This is you, this is you' -- he gives you the opportunity to fail. The way he's handled the situation we're in right now, it's tough. It's tough for him to keep it the same way each day, that's huge."
Garza has played for some of the most player-friendly managers in the game in Ron Gardenhire and Joe Maddon. He adds Sveum to that list.
"To end up with a guy like Dale is awesome, especially coming from the situation last year -- I'm not even going to go into it -- but this is awesome," Garza said.
The right-hander has seen positives from the young players, as well, despite the Cubs' losing record. Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro and Welington Castillo have shown some maturity.
"It's promising," Garza said. "The guys who want it and know they're going to be here, it's exciting to see. I've seen a lot for six, eight weeks now. I think it'll be fun [next year]. It might be slow, but it'll be fun."