Twins starting pitcher Matt Garza has told trainers he is ready, willing and able to pitch, despite discomfort in his neck. But the team is taking no chances, holding him out of action to undergo examinations, tests, rest and mild rehabilitative excercises while awaiting results of an anti-inflammatory drug regimen.
With any luck, Garza likely will have recovered within 10 days as the strain is not considered serious enough to cause him to see consulting specialists off site. He is under the care of team physicians John Steubs and Dan Buss, plus the training staff.
"We're taking care of him here," a team spokesman at the Fort Myers clubhouse confirmed for www.MLBnewsonline.com.
Garza, whose condition has been described as a common somatic disorder, is ticketed to be the No. 4 starter behind ace Johan Santana, Carlos Silva and Boof Bonser. He has felt discomfort at the neck at the base of the cranium, causing stress when he throws or looks toward the plate while straddling the mound.
While the injury in itself is relatively mild, it would lead to trouble if it caused colateral injuries by his altering of his normal throwing motion to avoid stress to the neck.
In his first outing last week, he threw two scoreless innings, but manager Ron Gardenhire suddenly removed him from a game five days later after Garza appeared to be uncomfortable as he faced Tampa Bay prospect Elijah Dukes.
In an unrelated development, center fielder Torii Hunter returned to action in the same game after taking the weekend off following a beaning by former teammate Kyle Lohse, now with the Reds. Hunter has a knot at the base of his skull, but otherwise remains unaffected. He told trainers a resulting headache has passed.