Sveum: Garza 'long shot' to be ready for first series

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Garza, who has been sidelined since Feb. 17 with a strained left lat, played catch for the second time since he was injured, and could be back on the mound in a week. But Cubs manager Dale Sveum said the right-hander most likely will not be ready for the opening series of the regular season.

Garza will take Sunday off after his throwing session Saturday, then have another long-toss session on Monday, Sveum said. The right-hander missed the last 2 1/2 months of last season because of an elbow injury.

"He didn't lose a lot of time as far as what he'd already built up," Sveum said. "It wasn't like [he missed] four weeks or something like that to where now you have to build everything back up."

The Cubs will have a better idea as to Garza's schedule once he starts throwing off the mound.

"It'll depend on him," Sveum said. "Because he's so strong and he was basically at, or even ahead of, what he normally is in Spring Training when he [was injured], it's kind of a wait and see with what happens in the first two [throwing sessions] and how his arm responds to the second time he gets in the game when it's the 50-to-60 pitch mark, like [Jeff] Samardzija had Friday.

"All this stuff is such a wait and see. I'm not going to lie, [having Garza pitch in] that opening series is probably a long shot."

Scott Baker, who is rehabbing after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, also is projected to be ready in mid-April. Baker had his second live batting-practice session on Friday.

"He said he felt way better this time the day after [he threw] than the day after he threw live BP four or five days ago," Sveum said.

The plan is for Baker to have one more live BP session, then pitch in a simulated game before he's ready for a Cactus League game.