MILWAUKEE -- If nothing else, Matt Garza is helping the scouts pile on plenty of frequent-flier miles.
A whole slew of scouts again watched Garza pitch Thursday for the Cubs, this time at Miller Park. And again, that group had to have come away impressed and ready to send good reports to their teams when the inevitable trade talks begin.
Cubs scouting reportCubs vs. Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field
TV: WGN Friday; FOX Saturday; Comcast SportsNet Sunday
Radio: WGN 720-AM
Pitching matchups: The Cubs' Travis Wood (5-6) vs. Hisashi Iwakuma (7-3) Friday at 9:10 p.m.; Jeff Samardzija (5-7) vs. Aaron Harang (3-7) Saturday at 6:15 p.m.; Edwin Jackson (3-10) vs. Jeremy Bonderman (1-1) Sunday at 3:10 p.m.
At a glance: This begins a six-game interleague stretch for the Cubs, who are 8-3 against the American League. The Cubs are 5-4 all time against the Mariners, 3-3 in Seattle. The Mariners (34-45) entered Thursday fourth in the AL West. Raul Ibanez has 18 home runs for a punchless Seattle offense that ranked last in the AL in batting average (. 236). The Mariners were 14th in runs scored and 13th in both on-base and slugging percentages. Alfonso Soriano should see plenty of DH duty on the rest of the trip. He's 11-for-43 against Harang.
Next: Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum, Tuesday-Thursday
-- Bruce Miles
Garza tossed 7 strong innings as the Cubs beat the mistake-prone Brewers 7-2. It was Garza's third straight outing of at least 7 innings, and it improved his record to 3-1 with a 3.83 ERA.
The Cubs went into template mode when talking about Garza and trade scenarios.
"That's another topic we don't talk about a lot," team president Theo Epstein said after not talking about negotiations with first-round draft pick Kris Bryant, who has yet to sign. "Obviously, there are a lot of calls this time of year. We have a number of guys performing really well including some guys who are under contract or under control for years to come.
"It's not like we're rushing out to trade those guys. We'll see. We owe it to the organization to explore it and see if there is something that makes us a lot better going forward and we'll have to consider."
Garza is a free agent after this season, so he might not be around next year anyway. Manager Dale Sveum wouldn't mind running him out there every fifth day for the rest of the season.
"His last 3 starts were as good as anybody's," said Sveum, whose team won two of three against the Brewers and improved to 33-44. "That's nice to have."
Garza keeps saying he just focuses on his next start. But he's been traded before, so he knows the drill.
"My job is to get ready for every five days, go out there and perform and do what I got to do," he said. "Be at my best every five days, and it's not for them, it's for me and my 24 guys in here. That's what I need to do. Rumors are rumors. They've been a part of me my entire career."
The colorful Garza said he remembers the first rumor surrounding him.
"The first one, I remember to this day, was me for (now-teammate Alfonso Soriano) to the Nationals," he said. "I was like, 'All right, a 40-40 guy. Yeah.'
"Now, it's just, 'Whatever.' I just keep plugging away. Someone asked me today, 'Do you sit by your phone?' I said no. No phone calls, no worries, guys."
Garza again threw to Dioner Navarro, who has become his personal catcher for the past 3 starts, which include 2 victories and a no-decision.
Navarro hit a 3-run homer in the third, when the Cubs scored 4 unearned runs against Wily Peralta as the Brewers committed 2 errors.
The veteran Navarro has handled Garza before, in Tampa Bay.
"He's really loud every day; he's a little bit quieter when he pitches," said Navarro, who had some fun with the discussion. "Other than that, we try to keep him away. He's hard. He's going to be Garza. He's been like that forever. We've just got to deal with him."
For how much longer that is with the Cubs remains to be seen.