The bad news for the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday was starting pitcher Matt Garza was indeed placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique.
The good news was that both the Brewers and Garza seem to feel the strain isn't as serious as the one he suffered last February as a member of the Chicago Cubs, an injury that wound up keeping him out for a total of seven weeks.
"It's not as bad as the last one," Garza said. "I have more range of motion; it's easier doing things every day -- breathing, coughing, waking up, rolling out of bed. It's a lot easier than it was last year.
"I don't think it'll be too long, but at the same time, I don't read medicals, either."
Garza suffered his latest strain on Sunday in St. Louis, leaving his start after six innings of one-hit, shutout ball in an eventual 3-2 loss to the Cardinals. He was examined on Monday by team physician William Raasch.
"We'll look at it like it's just going to be the 15 days, but we'll determine that as we go on," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He won't pick up a ball or throw it for awhile....These things are hard to tell. Obliques sometimes last longer than you think.
Rest is the key, Garza said, who, much to his chagrin, became something of an expert on strained obliques last season.
"That's all you can do for them," he said. "There's no rehab, there's no secret, miracle workout. It's just sit and wait. And for a guy like me, that's the toughest one. Just sit and wait for a week and re-evaluate from there."
The injury comes at an especially bad time, as Garza has been pitching well and the Brewers begin a difficult six-game home stand against the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Over his last three starts (21 innings), Garza had gone 1-0 while posting a 0.86 earned run average and limiting opposing hitters to a .119 average. For the season, he's 7-7 with a 3.58 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 23 starts.
Taking that all into account, Garza was not surprisingly frustrated with his move to the DL.
"Yeah, I understand it. I don't like it, but I understand it," he said. "Being competitive, you don't want to come here and not do anything. You want to feel like you're doing stuff. Best thing for me is kind of just take a step back and kind of get away from myself."
Garza's spot in the rotation comes up Saturday, opposite the Dodgers' Zack Greinke. The early assumption was Marco Estrada would slide in and take Garza's spot, but Roenicke said Estrada was one of a few options the Brewers were exploring, including recalling Mike Fiers from Class AAA Nashville.
"I'm not going to say who's going to start that game," he said. "Marco is still going to be in our bullpen ready to pitch for us 1/8Tuesday3/8. Then we'll figure out what we're going to do on that day."
Estrada (7-6, 4.83) was replaced in the rotation by rookie Jimmy Nelson just prior to the all-star break, due in large part to the 27 home runs he's allowed, a figure that leads the major leagues.
To fill Garza's spot on the 25-man roster, the Brewers recalled reliever Rob Wooten. In his third stint with the team, Wooten is 1-4 with a 4.36 ERA in 37 appearances.
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