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updated: 8/14/2012 10:22 PM

Cubs' Garza running out of time to return this season

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  • Olympic gold medalist Conor Dwyer throws out the ceremonial first pitch before the Cubs took on the Astros at Wrigley Field on Tuesday. Dwyer won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. 4x200-meter freestyle relay team.

      Olympic gold medalist Conor Dwyer throws out the ceremonial first pitch before the Cubs took on the Astros at Wrigley Field on Tuesday. Dwyer won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. 4x200-meter freestyle relay team.
    Associated Press

 
 

Pitcher Matt Garza is more than a week away from throwing again. While time is running short for Garza to work himself back into shape and perhaps make a rehab start, the Cubs won't shut the door on a return this season.

Even so, Garza pitching again this year seems iffy at best. He has not pitched since July 21 because of a "stress reaction" in the back of his right elbow.

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"It's hard to say," said Cubs president Theo Epstein, who chatted briefly with reporters before Tuesday night's game against the Astros. "Obviously the priority is to let it heal. There's no need to rush him back. Let it heal and put him in a position to be 100 percent. He's got a big year next year for the Cubs."

Manager Dale Sveum also wouldn't shut the door on a Garza return, but he also said time is not on the pitcher's side.

"I don't want to say (it's) unlikely that he'll be back, but it'll probably take a lot of hard work and some things to happen in the healing process to get back because you're going to run out of time, basically, to throw all the sides, the rehab starts wherever that might be at the time," Sveum said. "So it'll be kind of tough, but some guys heal quicker, and things happen quicker than others."

No limits yet:

Theo Epstein said there are no concrete plans to limit pitcher Jeff Samardzija, who is at 139 innings in his first full season as a major-league starter.

"We're monitoring things and talking it about it, but it's not something that we really engage him on," Epstein said. "We just let him go. We've got Bos (pitching coach Chris Bosio) and Dale (Sveum) and the front office talking about it, and we'll do what we think is best for him long term.

"We have to weigh a number of factors: his experience, his age, his frame, his mechanics, the state of his shoulder, his shoulder strength."

Remembering Johnny:

Theo Epstein got to see plenty of former Red Sox great Johnny Pesky when he was general manager in Boston. Pesky died Monday at 92.

"Just his generosity of spirit," Epstein said. "He was always happy to be at the ballpark. That really rubbed off on everyone around him. Always believed in players. Always had players' backs and saw the best in everybody, including players. Baseball and the Red Sox organization meant so much to him. He was just always happy to be at Fenway. That helped on those tough days, seeing how much he genuinely enjoyed it and how long he had been there. That helped lift your own mood sometimes when you needed it.

"He had an effect on a lot of people. He'll be sorely missed, and was a great baseball guy, tremendous amount of knowledge and was always telling great Ted Williams stories. A real living link to the past."

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