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New Cubs ace Garza ready for the change
Question of the Day
MESA, ARIZ. (AP) - Matt Garza’s home games this season will be out in the elements instead of under a roof. He’ll be pitching in a new league where there’s no designated hitter.
And after leaving a team that was in the World Series just three years ago, he’ll be starting for one that hasn’t appeared in one since 1945 or won it since 1908.
“We all want our lives to be filled with chapters, not the same old thing. So it’s a new chapter, a new adventure,” Garza said as he joined his new team for spring training. “That’s what I tell my kids. We’re going head-on, head-in, headstrong.”
“I knew something like this was going to happen based off the market size of Tampa. It wasn’t big. It wasn’t small,” Garza said. “When you’re drawing 12,000 and you’re in first place in the East, it’s kind of rough to picture yourself there the following season. I knew this day was coming.”
Garza pitched a no-hitter against Detroit last season while going 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 32 starts, He now will be facing lineups in which pitchers bat and often bunt, instead of confronting a batting order that might feature a DH such as Jim Thome.
“People say you’re going to have an advantage, but I don’t think so,” Garza said. “I’m going against new guys and they’re going against me. They’re going to do their homework just like I’m going to do my homework.”
One Cubs pitcher who’s seen both leagues is Kerry Wood, a former ace who returned this season after two years as a reliever in the AL with the Indians and Yankees.
“He definitely solidifies the rotation,” Wood said. “Watching him throw in the American League and seeing him dominate over there, he’s coming into the National League where teams aren’t going to know him as well as they knew him in the American League. And he’s got great stuff.”
Quade said he’ll hold out as long as possible before announcing his decision. Zambrano said he’d welcome the nod. Garza said he doesn’t much care.
“To me it’s just another day,” he said. “To me it’s really not a big deal. I feel it’s an earned right. I don’t know if I’m at that spot yet, but if he feels so, then so be it.”
By Orrin G. Hatch
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