Matt Garza didn't have to do much lobbying. He simply went out onto the field Thursday at Class AAA Iowa and tossed 6 innings of shutout ball in a rehab start.
As a result, he will come off the disabled list Tuesday and start for the Cubs at Pittsburgh.
"I think when they told me go get 6 and I threw 6, that was enough lobbying that I could actually argue," Garza said Saturday. "I was excited, and I'm just ready to do my part.
"I'm just excited, just happy that I don't have to go rehab again. This actually means something. But I can't wait. It's been 10 months in the making. I'm excited to get back out there."
Garza has not pitched since last July, when a "stress reaction" in his right elbow ended his season. Early in spring training this year, he suffered a left-lat-muscle strain.
The casualty of Garza's return is Carlos Villanueva, who will be bumped from the rotation to the bullpen. Villanueva has been a swingman most of his career. As a starter for the Cubs this year, he is 1-3 with a 3.93 ERA.
"He was very professional about it and understood," manager Dale Sveum said. "We all know that he's kind of been in this role, the swingman, so to speak. So he understands it. He accepts it. Very professional about the whole thing.
"He's got the ability to pitch late in the game because of the repertoire he has, according to matchups. You're not afraid to use him against left-handed hitters with his changeup and his ability to backdoor breaking balls and do things like that. He's obviously built up to do a lot of things.
Garza said he felt for Villanueva.
"It's a tough decision," he said. "I'm glad I didn't have to make it. I just had to force it. I feel bad for the guy, but he's a true professional. He's going to help us out in any way he can."
Rizzo hitting lefties:
First baseman Anthony Rizzo hit his 10th homer of the season in Saturday's 8-2 victory over the Mets. It came off left-handed reliever Robert Carson. Rizzo, a left-handed batter, has 4 homers against lefties, matching his total of last year.
"Just seeing them better," he said. "I think it was a mental thing. You've still got to throw the ball over the plate, just from a little different arm slot. You adjust your eyes a little bit."
Rizzo has an overall hitting line of .282/.350/.540 with 30 RBI. In 21 games dating to April 26, he's 32-for-82 (.390) with 10 doubles and 4 homers.
Defense never rests:
Second baseman Darwin Barney, the Gold Glove winner from last year, was out early Saturday morning taking groundballs.
"He's just not a guy who accepts mediocrity," Dale Sveum said. "That's the thing about it. No matter how good he's playing, he's always going to stick to his routine and get as many groundballs and do them at game speed as much as he possibly can.
"The Gold Glovers I've been around in the big leagues have won their Gold Gloves, and they still stick to their routines and seem to still work harder than anybody else."