WASHINGTON - It's been nearly 10 months since Matt Garza threw a pitch in a major-league game, but the right-hander's presence is starting to be felt on the Cubs' pitching staff like faint breathing at the back of the neck.
Garza (lat strain) had another strong minor-league rehab outing Saturday, throwing 66 pitches in 3 1/3 scoreless innings for Class AA Tennessee, and after probably two more starts at AAA Iowa, he could be ready to return from the disabled list.
Which starter from one of the league's top rotations gets bumped to the bullpen?
Even before Edwin Jackson earned his first victory of the season, manager Dale Sveum reiterated that the worst-performing starter of the early season was exempt.
Sveum said a six-man rotation is out of the question, and when he also exempted Opening Day starter Jeff Samardzija and high-performance lefty Travis Wood, it left Scott Feldman (3-3, 2.70) and Carlos Villanueva (1-2, 3.02) dangling.
"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it," Sveum said. "It's a nice problem to have. But it's getting close to that date, and it's not a cut-and-dried situation."