Cubs’ Garza: `This is the toughest thing for me to face’

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Not even his trademark over-the-top optimism and exuberance has Cubs pitcher Matt Garza convinced he can return to the Cubs’ rotation this season.

“I’m hoping,” said Garza, who was shut down indefinitely this week because of a “stress reaction” in his pitching elbow. “That’s why I’m working my tail off to get back. … I was definitely surprised [by Monday’s diagnosis]. I was throwing through this thing. But the doc said I’ve got to shut it down. I’ve got to listen to the doc.”

The injury isn’t considered serious, but Garza hasn’t pitched in almost three weeks, and there’s only eight weeks left in the season.

“It’s kinda like they told me I can’t breathe,” he tweeted a few days ago.

Garza, whose injury amounts to an irritation at the tip of one of the bones in his elbow, has even made adjustments to his diet to identify foods richer in nutrients to help the healing process.

“I don’t like not playing,” he said. “This is the toughest thing for me to face, just not being able to do anything, like hold me back from going out there and wanting to throw. That’s why I fought so long to [avoid the disabled list] and told them I’ll be able to come back, be able to come back. …”

One of the most significant byproducts of the injury that cut short his July 21 start was that the Cubs were unable to trade him at last week’s trade deadline, and general manager Jed Hoyer said he anticipated having him on next year’s roster – which Garza says is all good to him.

“As long as they keep wanting me,” he said. “Somebody keeps wanting me to play, I’m all for it. I’m not looking ahead to anything. I’m just trying to get to where I can get back on the field and start playing. Hopefully soon.”

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