Time running out on Garza return in 2012

CHICAGO --The likelihood that starter Matt Garza pitches again for the Chicago Cubs this season continues to go down. Manager Dale Sveum didn’t seem optimistic Tuesday when gauging the chances of Garza returning sometime over the final six weeks of the season.

“It’ll take a lot of hard work and some things to happen in the healing process for him to get back (this season),” Sveum said. “Because you’re going to run out of time, basically, to rehab, throw on the side and rehab starts. It’ll be kinda tough, but some guys heal quicker than others.”

Garza has not pitched since July 21 at St. Louis, when he suffered a cramp in his right triceps. An MRI revealed no major damage, although there was slight fluid buildup around the muscle.

Sveum admitted that Garza would do whatever he can to get back on the field, and the pitcher has said he wants to return this season. However, Sveum said the Cubs aren’t going to risk Garza’s health for what he surmised to be no more than two meaningless starts at the end of the season.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein echoed those sentiments.

“Obviously, the priority is to let it heal,” Epstein said. “There’s no need to rush him back. Let him heal and put him in a position to be 100 percent. He’s got a big year next year for the Cubs.”