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Cubs' Garza to miss 1 week with side injury

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MESA, Ariz. (AP) - Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza has a mild side strain and is expected to miss only a week of spring training camp.

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Garza strained his side while throwing live batting practice on Sunday, when he faced batters for the first time since last July. He underwent an MRI on Monday which revealed a ``mild strain'' in his side, Chicago general manager Jed Hoyer said.

``We're probably going to let him rest for about a week, make sure he's pain-free, at which point he can ramp back up his throwing,'' Hoyer said Tuesday. ``I think it's safe to say it pushes back his first Cactus League start. But what it means for the regular season, it's clearly much too early to say. We felt like it was really good news, it's just a mild strain.''

Hoyer said Garza is in good spirits. The 29-year-old went 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA last season, but didn't make any starts after July 21 because of an elbow issue.

The right-hander reported to camp in great shape, and Hoyer said the injury was not related to any lack of conditioning by Garza.

``He looks great,'' Hoyer said. ``His body looks different. This guy worked his butt off this winter. He was sort of like a caged animal. He couldn't do a lot for a long time and once he got a chance to work out fully, he looks fantastic. This has nothing to do with how he came into camp. I believe him when he said he came in in his best shape. He looks like it.''

Garza is one of the candidates manager Dale Sveum will consider to start on opening day for the Cubs, who lost 101 games last season.

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The Associated Press
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