Garza stays hot with Navarro behind plate

Matt Garza turned in another strong outing Thursday with Dioner Navarro catching. AP Photo/Morry Gash

MILWAUKEE -- Matt Garza seems to be getting along with new battery-mate Dioner Navarro. Since indicating that he and starting catcher Welington Castillo weren't always on the same page, Garza has worked solely with Navarro when he takes the mound.

On June 11, Garza had one of his worst outings of his career, giving up nine earned runs in five innings, all of this occurring with Castillo behind the plate.

In his three starts since, Navarro has caught for Garza and the results have been quite nice, including Thursday's 7-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers that featured a three-run home run by Navarro.

Garza has combined to toss 22 innings in his last three outings, giving up just two runs while striking out 24 and walking only four. Despite the recent success, manager Dale Sveum said he wouldn't go out of his way to pair Garza and Navarro.

"I'll probably end up trying to mix and match to where it turns out that way," Sveum said before Thursday's game. "But if it doesn't, I'm not going to worry about it. It doesn't matter who's catching you when you have fastball command."

Sveum was adamant that it's Garza's ability to locate his heater, not who he's throwing to, that leads to Garza's success. The better he commands his fastball, the less chance that the opponent will hit the ball hard.

"It's always going to come down to fastball command," Sveum said. "Keeping the ball away from slugging percentage is the biggest thing. You stay away from slugging percentage and you got your fastball and you're able to move it in and out, that's usually going to do it. The bottom line is fastball command."

Whether it's Navarro or Castillo behind the plate, the bottom line is that with trade season rapidly approaching, opposing teams will be focusing on one thing when it comes to Garza: the results. Sveum said he can't worry about his player's names coming up in trade rumors.

"Those things, I don't have control over," Sveum said. "I know that's (the media's) job this time of year, to talk about it a lot. In my world I deal with that bridge when I'm getting ready to cross it."

With Garza likely being one of the more sought after commodities this July, that bridge appears to be in sight.