Matt Garza's lat strain isn't considered serious, and for now the Cubs expect his spring schedule to get pushed back by only one exhibition start.
But even if he gets enough starts this spring to avoid opening the season on the disabled list, the shorter prep time has a good chance of taking him out of the Opening Day mix, which could assure Jeff Samardzija his first opening start.
Even if Samardzija doesn't see it that way.
``I mean, I know how Garza is. I know he's a competitor. I know how big of a year he wants to have,'' Samardzija said. ``To count Garza out wouldn't be the smartest thing to do.''
Manager Dale Sveum said it's too soon to make that call. In fact, he doesn't plan to do it until closer to March 20 and has even mentioned the unlikely Edwin Jackson as a candidate.
``I want the competition,'' Samardzija said. ``I want me and Garza and everyone to compete every [spring] start for that spot. It's only going to make us all better.
``Obviously, it was a given before anything else happened that I was going to go and give everything I had and try to earn that spot. And nothing's changed. So I'm going to stay on track to be ready for the first week of the season.''