Garza eyes next rehab outing after Double-A start

CHICAGO -- Cubs pitcher Matt Garza returned to Wrigley Field on Thursday after making his first Minor League rehab start, and said all went well and he's eager for his next game.

Garza, who has been sidelined since mid-February with a strained left lat suffered during a live batting practice session, threw 2 2/3 innings Wednesday for Double-A Tennessee. The right-hander would not give a timetable as to when he might return to the rotation.

"I'm just looking forward to [Minor League rehab start] No. 2," Garza said. "I'm prepping my mind for No. 2."

Garza has not pitched in the big leagues since July 21. He was shut down after 18 starts last season because of right elbow problems and finished the 6-12. The elbow hasn't been an issue this year, though.

"I feel great," Garza said. "I'm glad to be back, sort of. I'm excited for No. 2."

He walked two batters and did not strike anyone out in the Minor League outing, allowing a run on a hit.

"I was glad to throw strikes and glad they were swinging," Garza said. "That's a good sign. I know I had no punchouts, but that means I got a lot of outs with them swinging at the ball, so I threw the ball in the zone a lot, so that's kind of what I was looking for."

The stadium radar gun said Garza's fastball was at 87-90 mph, but the clubhouse staff in Mississippi told the pitcher that it isn't very accurate.

"[Velocity] isn't my concern," Garza said.

He was just happy to pitch. Weather has messed up his schedule lately.

"I seriously felt like I had a black cloud following me from city to city," Garza said. "There was nothing going to stop me from throwing [Wednesday]. It was more like someone left the sprinkler on, and it kept coming."

The Cubs have said they want Garza to make at least three Minor League starts.

"I can't predict when [he'll be back], I'm just going to say I'm looking forward to five days from yesterday," Garza said. "When we get to No. 3 -- and it might even be No. 4 -- when we get to No. 3, we'll make a decision. Right now, I'm looking forward to No. 2."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.