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Matt Garza throws 66 pitches in third rehab start

May 12, 2013, 10:24 AM EDT

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Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Cubs right-hander Matt Garza tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings Saturday in his second minor league rehab start with the Double-A Tennessee Smokies. It was his third rehab start overall.

Garza was scheduled to throw between four and five innings on Saturday, but two walks ballooned his pitch count early and he was pulled after his 66th delivery of the evening. He allowed three hits but racked up two strikeouts against the Birmingham Barons — the Double-A affiliate of the White Sox.

Garza will head to Triple-A Iowa next for two more rehab outings. The struggling Cubs are probably tempted to bring him back a little early, but he is going to be their best trade chip at the July 31 deadline so it’s better that he’s fully healthy.

The 29-year-old right-hander has been out all season because of a lat strain. He has a 3.52 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 8.7 K/9 in 301 2/3 innings (49 starts) since being traded to Chicago in January 2011.

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