ST. LOUIS – When Matt Garza left Saturday night's game against the Cardinals after the third inning and TV cameras caught him flexing his right wrist in the dugout, it looked like another example of what Lou Piniella would term a "Cubbie Occurrence."
Only the Cubs could lose their best trading chip to an injury right before the deadline.
Garza's injury was described as right triceps cramping. He called it a "weird-ass injury."
While the Cubs breathed a sigh of relief when X-rays proved negative, Garza admitted he "could barely extend my arm."
"I don't know what the hell happened," he said. "I'm just ticked off and frustrated because I felt like I had been throwing the ball well and something like this comes up. I've felt tightness before, but anything in your elbow area, as a pitcher, you get nervous.
"I'm still young, so I wanted to take the precaution, so I said something (to pitching coach Chris Bosio). Usually I wouldn't say anything — just try to go out there and muscle up."
A trip to the disabled list couldn't be discounted, and it could hinder a potential trade.
"If (the injury) does hurt the team — what they had in mind — it's not like I tried," Garza said. "I'd rather go out there and throw eight or nine than come in here and say I can't throw the ball."
Garza threw three shutout innings, and Justin Germano was solid before being lifted after an infield hit to start the seventh. James Russell, Manny Corpas and Rafael Dolis combined to give up 11 of the 12 runs on 10 hits in the inning, including a major league record-tying seven doubles.
The Cardinals also tied a franchise record for runs in an inning, set in 1926. It has been only two years since the Cubs gave up 12 runs in an inning, on July 30, 2010, in Colorado.
Before the game, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer reiterated the team needs "a lot more pitching in the organization," which would be the primary reason to deal Garza, the player who could fetch the most in return.
But the Cubs haven't ruled out keeping Garza, who has been consistent the last two seasons.
"He's a really good pitcher," Hoyer said. "We need a lot more guys like him in the organization, not fewer. We've been very consistent with that all along. He can certainly help a team win, not only this year and next year, but for a long time."
Many initially thought Garza had been pulled because he was traded.
"It's going to take a lot more to pull me out of that game than a trade," he said. "You're going to have to wait until I'm done."
The trade talk doesn't bother Garza, who said he was more concerned about making it home for the birth of his son. His wife is expecting in August, but could be delivering any day, he said.
After treatment, Garza said the pain was gone but he still could feel something.
"I'll wake up tomorrow," he said. "Hopefully, I'll wake up tomorrow. I'm more of an optimist. I hope (it's gone)."