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updated: 5/21/2011 7:57 PM

Cubs' rotation in flux; RHP Garza scratched

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  • Matt Garza has been scratched from Sunday's start against Boston.

      Matt Garza has been scratched from Sunday's start against Boston.
    Associated Press


BOSTON -- The Cubs already are without 40 percent of their starting-pitching rotation.

So Saturday's news that Matt Garza would miss a start was another body blow to a team that doesn't need it.

Garza came down with what the Cubs call tightness in his right elbow. He has been scratched from Sunday night's start against the Red Sox, and he'll see doctors Monday in Chicago. He said he won't get an MRI because he has a titanium screw in his elbow from a previous medical issue.

The Cubs likely will start left-hander James Russell in Garza's place, with several bullpen pitchers being at the ready.

Garza said Saturday he has been battling the tightness for a while.

"It's just been tight at times, probably the last couple starts," he said. "I've just been pitching through it. I say, 'Hey, we could keep going,' but it just started that my arm wasn't comfortable.

"I've always gone with if there's any doubt in my mind, not on how it feels but on execution of pitches, if I'm able to get my slider when I need it. I just wasn't comfortable."

The 27-year-old Garza has been one of the most durable starters in the game the last few years. He says there's not one type of pitch that causes discomfort, but Garza has thrown significantly fewer fastballs this year and significantly more sliders.

Garza said he's not overly concerned by the tightness, blaming it in part on all of the cold weather the Cubs have encountered. He said he has had some discomfort in the past.

"Yeah, I have, but it loosened up right away," he said. "This is one of the ones where it's just been around a little bit longer. I didn't want to go out there if there's a crucial situation and I needed to make a pitch, I didn't trust that pitch."

Manager Mike Quade said Russell was the "prohibitive favorite" to start Sunday. Russell, who started four times earlier this year, worked 3 innings of relief Friday night.

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