Club wants Garza to go deeper in Thursday's start
Cubs right-hander set to pitch for Triple-A Iowa in fourth rehab outing
CHICAGO -- Cubs pitcher Matt Garza will make his fourth Minor League rehab start on Thursday, pitching for Triple-A Iowa.
The Cubs hope the right-hander, on the disabled list because of a strained left lat suffered in a Spring Training workout Feb. 17, will be able to go deeper in the game and throw 85-95 pitches.
In his last outing for Double-A Tennessee on Saturday, Garza threw 66 pitches over 3 1/3 innings.
"I've been throwing strikes, I've been working on things I need to work on," Garza said. "It's all piecing together. I feel fine and am excited about Thursday."
"It's only going to get better when we get him back here," Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija said. "Obviously, we want him to be healthy, and that's the most important thing."
Refuting report, Marmol happy to be in Chicago
CHICAGO -- Carlos Marmol could only laugh at an Internet report Wednesday in which someone overheard the Cubs pitcher saying he wanted out of Chicago and a fresh start.
"I don't know who that guy is and why he tweeted that," Marmol said of the alleged conversation, which was reported to have happened in the lobby of his apartment building.
Marmol did meet with his agent, Paul Kinzer, on Wednesday, but denied they were talking about finding a way to get the pitcher out of Chicago. Marmol lost his job as the Cubs closer after the first week of the season.
"I'm not going nowhere," Marmol said. "I'm very happy here. I can't wait until they do something so I can stay here. I always talk about how I love Chicago, I love being here, I love my teammates, I love everybody here."
It would be understandable if Marmol was upset considering his role has changed.
"I'm ready in the first inning," Marmol said. "I always put that in my mind. It's not easy [to not be the closer], but I can handle it. I'll pitch whenever."
Is he bothered by the false report?
"That didn't come out of my mouth," Marmol said. "I feel good here. I'm here, and I'm not going nowhere."
Rizzo candid on Network's 'Intentional Talk'
CHICAGO -- Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo appeared on MLB Network's "Intentional Talk" and revealed that he had to borrow a belt, that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are his "step parents," and he's jealous of Jeff Samardzija's hair.
During the interview with hosts Kevin Millar and Chris Rose, Rizzo was asked for his first response when told the Cubs wanted to give him a long-term contract.
"[I said] 'Where do I sign?'" Rizzo said.
He did sign a seven-year, $41 million deal on Monday, but apparently had to borrow a belt from teammate Ryan Sweeney for the news conference.
Epstein, president of baseball operations, and general manager Hoyer, and Jason McLeod, the scouting and player development director, first selected Rizzo in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft with the Red Sox. Then Hoyer traded for the first baseman when he and McLeod went to the Padres. Epstein, Hoyer and McLeod were reunited on the Cubs, and traded for Rizzo again. Does the first baseman have a man crush on Epstein and Hoyer?
"Those are my step parents, to be honest, Jed, Theo and Jason," Rizzo said. "They brought me along on their ride. I think I have a crush on them more now."
Millar and Rose wanted to know who has the best hair on the Cubs. Rizzo said it's not him.
"[Samardzija] and [James] Russell have the best hair on the team so far," Rizzo said.
He may like the locks, but during a quick Q&A, Rizzo couldn't spell Samardzija's name.
• Anthony Rizzo has not struck out in his last 31 at-bats. It's the second-longest active streak in the Major Leagues. Has the Cubs first baseman made some adjustments?
"All hitters are always tinkering with this and that," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Wednesday. "It might be something this day or something tomorrow and you stick with it until that runs out. Guys like that who have a little bit going on [with their swing] -- meaning the hand position and some things that aren't quite conventional -- they'll always tinker a little bit because they're uncomfortable or whatever. You change something up a little bit and it doesn't have to be drastic but do something else to get comfortable again."
Rizzo is batting .392 since April 26 with nine doubles, three homers and 16 RBIs, and has struck out eight times in that stretch. Before those 18 games, he was batting .173 with 26 K's.
"I just say keep it as simple as possible," Rizzo said. "In Miami, the first game there [April 25], I was trying to do way too much. We took it back a couple notches, a couple steps, and it's been paying off. I'm just keeping it real simple and not trying to do too much and that's what I always say and live by."
• Luis Valbuena returned to the Cubs lineup Wednesday for the first time since he sprained the little finger on his right hand sliding into third base on Saturday. The third baseman may have some tenderness on his hand, but should be fine, Sveum said.
"When we got him on waivers last year before Opening Day, he had all the intangibles of a guy who gives you good at-bats, a left-handed hitter, always reliable defensively no matter where you put him, and has the ability to hit home runs," Sveum said. "He's getting the opportunity, and basically every at-bat he has is a quality at-bat."
The Cubs claimed Valbuena off waivers before the start of the 2012 season.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.