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updated: 11/15/2012 10:43 PM

Cubs pitcher Garza cleared to resume off-season work

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One of the biggest questions of the Cubs' off-season has been pitcher Matt Garza, the potential No. 1 starter for 2013.

The Cubs said Thursday that Garza underwent a scan of his right elbow this week and that the procedure showed that the elbow is "healing as expected" and that Garza may resume a normal off-season routine in preparation for spring training.

Garza, who turns 29 on Nov. 26, made his final start of the 2012 season on July 21 because of a "stress reaction" in his pitching elbow. The timing could not have been worse for the Cubs. If not for the injury, they may have been able to trade Garza for prospects at or near the July 31 trading deadline.

For the season, Garza was 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA. In two seasons with the Cubs, he is 15-17 with a 3.52 ERA. If healthy, he figures to open the 2013 season as the No. 1 starter in a rotation that currently includes Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood and recently signed right-hander Scott Baker.

Cubs sign catcher:

Shortly after the off-season began, Cubs president Theo Epstein indicated the team would sign a veteran catcher to push Welington Castillo, the likely starter for next season.

The Cubs made good on that Thursday, agreeing on a one-year deal worth a reported $1.75 million with Dioner Navarro. The 28-year-old Navarro split time this past season with the Cincinnati Reds and Class AAA Lousville. With the Reds, he was 20-for-69 (.290) with 2 homers.

Navarro has seen time with the Yankees, Dodgers, Rays and Reds, appearing in the postseason (including the World Series) with the Rays in 2008.

For his career, Navarro has a hitting line of .245/.306/.357 with 41 homers. Castillo has the inside track on the starting catching job for the Cubs. He and Steve Clevenger shared time most of the second half after Geovany Soto was traded to the Rangers on July 31.

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