Cubs manager Dale Sveum didn't seem to be buying Matt Garza's explanation for Tuesday night's rocky performance in which Garza gave up 9 hits and 9 runs in the Cubs' 12-2 loss to the Reds.
Garza was asked if he felt in rhythm yet after coming off the disabled list May 21.
"I haven't thrown to Welly; that's what spring training is for," Garza said of catcher Welington Castillo. "He kind of gets a feel for me, and I get a feel for him. I think that's what we're trying to do right now, just feel each other out. It's tough. Being in this game for as many seasons as I have, I need to take control and guide him through it. I'm not doing what I'm supposed to do."
Fact is, Castillo has caught all 5 of Garza's starts this year, and Garza has gone 1-1 with a 6.26 ERA. There have been good starts and bad. In Garza's first start, he worked 5 shutout innings. Garza got his victory on May 31, pitching 7 innings and giving up 6 hits and 2 runs.
"He had a pretty good outing with him behind the plate a couple outings ago," Sveum said. "You get the ball up and it doesn't matter who's catching."
Sveum praised the work Castillo has done behind the plate.
"He's put himself into one of the better defensive catchers in the game," he said. "The bat, hopefully it's just one of those building blocks, kind of like how (the Cardinals' Yadier) Molina started his career as far as swinging the bat and on-base percentage.
"The one thing Molina did, I think, early in his career was that he didn't strike out, but the average and production was there. Obviously, we've all seen Molina graduate into one of the better and tougher outs in all of baseball. Welly's got the mechanics and the hand speed and all that to be able to do that with some adjustments and getting more major-league at-bats."
The Cubs continued shuffling their bullpen. After Tuesday night's game, they obtained right-handed reliever Henry Rodriguez from the Washington Nationals in exchange for pitcher Ian Dickson, who was with the Kane County Cougars.
During Tuesday's game reliever Zach Putnam exited after three batters with a sore right elbow. Putnam has had problems with bone spurs. He's awaiting MRI results.
The Cubs placed him on the disabled list Wednesday and recalled left-handed pitcher Brooks Raley from Class AAA Iowa.
Raley, 24, was 5-4 with a 4.92 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts) with Iowa. He made his big league debut with the club last August and went 1-2 with an 8.14 ERA in 5 starts.
"Our bullpen's a little short, so we got some length there," said Dale Sveum.
Rodriguez was designated for assignment June 4. He may join the Cubs in New York Friday. Rodriguez, 26, went 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA and 1.67 WHIP in 17 games with Washington this year. In all or parts of five major-league seasons, he has pitched for Oakland and Washington, going 5-7 with 11 saves, a 4.23 ERA and 1.48 WHIP.
He may join the Cubs over the weekend in New York. The Cubs want him to throw on the side for a few days since it's been awhile since he's seen action.