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MLB: Injuries abound for NL Central clubs

Chicago Cubs starter Matt Garza will begin the season on the disabled list and, according to manager Dale Sveum, might not return until May.
Chicago Cubs starter Matt Garza will begin the season on the disabled list and, according to manager Dale Sveum, might not return until May.

MESA, Ariz. – Chicago Cubs right-hander Matt Garza experienced tightness in his side while rehabbing and will start the season on the disabled list, manager Dale Sveum said Sunday.

“It’s a minor setback that [he] could wind up missing 2 weeks to a month,” he said. “Now you’re looking at him getting two [Cactus League] starts at the most.”

Garza wasn’t too upset, after saying this week he did not plan to rush back just be ready for opening week. Sveum said Garza could be out until May.

“Could be,” Garza said. “But that’s not what I’m planning. I don’t sit back and let things happen. I try to make them happen.”

Garza was in the second day of playing catch after sitting out 10 days with the side injury, which occurred during his first live batting practice session.

Carlos Villanueva and Travis Wood will be in the rotation. Sveum also named Jeff Samardzija as his opening-day starter, as expected.

No timetable on Stewart: Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart said there is no timetable for his return from a left quad strain.

He said he’s not worried about the Cubs releasing him at the end of spring to save $1.5 million on his contract.

Ramirez gets MRI on knee: Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez had an MRI Sunday morning on his left knee, hurt while sliding during a game Saturday against the Angels.

Ramirez said he’s already talked to teammate Alex Gonzalez, who tore his ACL last season sliding into second base on a steal attempt. The general lack of swelling in Ramirez’s knee appears to be a positive sign.

Cardinals shut down Furcal: St. Louis shortstop Rafael Furcal has been shut down from all baseball activity because of increasing right elbow pain, the team said Sunday.

The veteran switch-hitter had been throwing with limitations since the start of spring training, although the stress and discomfort has now forced him to stop all baseball activity indefinitely.

“He went in a bad direction,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “I don’t know the severity of it, but it wasn’t good news.”

The 35-year-old, who decided not to have surgery on his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament, which he hurt last season on Aug. 30., never reached full recovery after rest and rehab during the offseason.

Spring training roundup

Cubs take one of three over weekend: Javier Baez hit his first home run in a Chicago Cubs uniform on Sunday, but Milwaukee held on for a 4-3 win at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz.

The Cubs won their split squad game in Tempe, beating the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 behind three shutout innings by Nick Struck and home runs by Brian Bogusevic and Brad Nelson. The Cubs lost 9-7 to San Francisco on Saturday.

Sox split 4-0 decisions: Jake Peavy and Clayton Richard, both parts of the deal that sent Peavy from San Diego to the White Sox, squared off during the Padres’ 4-0 victory Sunday.

Peavy allowed three of the runs and took the loss in his first start of the spring.

Chicago beat Cincinnati 4-0 Saturday.

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