Sveum, Cubs’ players not happy about Matt Garza’s departure
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com July 22, 2013 10:13PM
Updated: August 24, 2013 6:39AM
PHOENIX — Manager Dale Sveum wasn’t thrilled about right-hander Matt Garza, his best pitcher, being traded Monday to the Texas Rangers. Neither were most of his players.
‘‘Yeah, I’m sad,’’ said Dioner Navarro, Garza’s personal catcher and a friend since they were teammates with the Tampa Bay Rays. ‘‘Matt is my boy.’’
But nobody was surprised by the departure, which was inevitable almost from the start of the season.
‘‘I don’t dwell on it,’’ Sveum said before rookie Junior Lake went 4-for-5 with his first major-league home run and three RBI in the Cubs’ 4-2 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opener of a four-game series. ‘‘It’s part of the game. It’s where our organization is right now — trying to get really good talent built up in the organization for that day when you’re ready to win and do things where you can go out and get a player like Garza because you have players that other people want.’’
Several more players might be traded leading up to the non-waiver deadline July 31, including closer Kevin Gregg, outfielder Nate Schierholtz and left-handed reliever James Russell.
‘‘It’s going to test our depth,’’ right-hander Jeff Samardzija said. ‘‘I know we have a doubleheader coming up [July 30], too, so we’re going to need another start there. So we’ll see what we’ve got.’’
Sveum said he expects to see right-hander Jake Arrieta, whom the Cubs acquired from the Baltimore Orioles in the Scott Feldman trade July 2, and right-hander Justin Grimm, who was acquired for Garza, in the majors before the end of the season.
Meanwhile, left-hander Chris Rusin, who was called up from Class AAA Iowa to take Garza’s turn Monday, could get a chance to keep the job if he pitches well. He allowed two runs and two hits in five-plus innings against the Diamondbacks.
‘‘We’ll see where Grimm is, where Arrieta is, all that stuff,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘Those are the things you have to plan out now after 24 hours goes by.’’
‘‘It’s very sad to see Garza leave,’’ outfielder Alfonso Soriano said. ‘‘But it’s a business. I hope those guys we traded for Garza can help the team to win and help the organization, too.’’
Eye on Braun
Before the game, many players watched coverage of the suspension of Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun for violating Major League Baseball’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
‘‘You shouldn’t be taking things you shouldn’t be taking or connected to people you shouldn’t be connected to,’’ Samardzija said. ‘‘Nowadays, you can’t hide from anything. . . . Everything you do is going to be found out and going to be talked about, so if it’s something you don’t like [publicized], you shouldn’t be doing it.’’
Sveum was Braun’s hitting coach before becoming the Cubs’ manager.
‘‘Obviously, it’s unfortunate for baseball, unfortunate for the Brewers’ organization and those things,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘I’m just glad it’s kind of finally over now that he’s come out and admitted it and come to the public and apologized.’’
A chosen few
With Garza gone, only five active players — Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Russell, Samardzija and Soriano — remain from the Cubs’ Opening Day roster in 2012. David DeJesus is on the disabled list.