Coming off of the worst season of his career in 2015, the Brewers were looking for a bounce back campaign from veteran starter Matt Garza. Those hopes have already been dealt a blow as manager Craig Counsell announced that Garza would be scratched from his first scheduled start of the season on Wednesday with tightness in his right throwing shoulder.
CC confirms Matt Garza (shoulder) won't start Wednesday. Jungmann goes that day instead. Anderson Friday vs. HOU. After that, TBD.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) April 4, 2016
Garza was pulled from his final spring training appearance on April 1st after just 3.1 innings after the manager "saw some reason for concern" but the injury was not expected to cost him any time during the regular season. Garza was scheduled to throw a side session on April 3rd and after being examined by team doctor William Raasch yesterday it was determined that he would not be able to go against the Giants on Wednesday. Garza may need an MRI but it's expected that the club will know more about the injury later today.
Garza has battled various maladies throughout his career and his right shoulder in particular has been troublesome in recent seasons. He spent time on the 15 day disabled list last July with right shoulder tendinitis, though thanks to the All-Star break he only missed one scheduled start. Matt also missed a few games with right shoulder tightness near the end of 2014 and spent a stint on the 60 day DL in the beginning of 2013 with a right shoulder strain.
Taylor Jungmann will have his first start moved up to cover Garza for Wednesday's game and fifth starter Chase Anderson will move up a day to start the series opener against Houston on Friday. With early season off days in the schedule the Brewers won't necessarily need a fifth starter until April 18th so they have some time to allow Garza some extra rest and help determine if a disabled list stint will be necessary.
With the Brewers having undertaken an extensive rebuilding project, Garza is left as the elder statesman of a young starting rotation. Of course that's more a function of Garza's 5.63 ERA in 148.2 innings pitched last year plus the $25 mil he is still owed over the next two seasons than it is keeping him around as "veteran leadership." There's little doubt that new General Manager Slingin' David Stearns is hoping that the 32 year old can get closer to the form he showed during his first season in Milwaukee, when he posted a 3.64 ERA and 3.54 FIP in 27 starts, so that Garza can become a viable trade candidate.
The Brewers have no shortage of options down in AAA to take his place if Garza's shoulder forces him to the disabled list. Top prospects Zach Davies or Jorge Lopez could perhaps be called upon, though this early in the season there could be service time considerations in play. If that is the case, Tyler Cravy or Junior Guerra would be other options as well.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs