The Cubs had only 1 complete game by a pitcher last season, and it took Jeff Samardzija until September to get it.
Scott Feldman made it a nice "first" Wednesday night in the Cubs' 6-2 victory over the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field. Feldman tossed the Cubs' first complete game of 2013 and the first of his career. He also struck out a career-best 12.
"It's something I've been wanting to do for a while," said Feldman, who improved to 2-3 with a 3.34 ERA. "It always seemed my pitch count go up or I got taken out before that can happen. I think, originally, the plan was for me to throw 8. I went back and asked Skip (manager Dale Sveum) if I could get a crack at a 'CG.'
"I'm just thankful he let me go back out there and try to get it. He didn't take me out after I gave up that home run to (Chase) Headley."
Feldman allowed the homer to Headley in the ninth and a homer to Jedd Gyorko in the eighth. However, he had his cutter working all game long, and he even doubled home a run in the second to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Backup catcher Dioner Navarro made it 4-0 in the third with a 2-run double.
"I haven't seen it on video yet, but that cutter was really chewing them up," Sveum said. "He threw strikes. I think he walked one guy and gave up a couple of home runs, but other than that, it was probably as pure and crisp as you can imagine out of a guy that doesn't throw 98 miles an hour. That was pretty impressive after what they did last night (scoring 13 runs)."
Matt Garza made his first rehab start for Class AA Tennessee, throwing 42 pitches as he comes back from a left-lat muscle strain. Garza worked 2 innings and gave up 1 hit and 1 run while walking two and striking out none. He's headed back to Chicago to get looked at. He'll make another rehab start (club undetermined) Monday. He'll need 3 or 4 rehab starts before coming back to the Cubs.
Third baseman Ian Stewart (quad injury) entered Wednesday batting .100 at Iowa after 12 games of a rehab stint. It's possible the Cubs could option him there because he doesn't appear anywhere ready to hit major-league pitching. Team president Theo Epstein said the Cubs could "recertify" the injury and get more rehab time for Stewart at Iowa.
Pitcher Scott Baker has begun playing catch as he continues his recover from Tommy John surgery. There is no timetable for his return.