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Garza takes mound against Nationals

CHICAGO – Right-hander Mark Garza anxiously awaited for this day to arrive.

Garza makes his first start of the season today against the Washington Nationals, who send lefty Gio Gonzalez to the mound. It marks Gonzalez's first start in the National League.

Since 2009, Garza is 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA in his three season debuts. Garza ended last year having won his final four starts dating to August 30, during which he had a 1.48 ERA.

First baseman Bryan LaHair (back) again in not in the starting lineup, though it available off the bench. Baker starts at first in his place and manager Dale Sveum said LaHair should be back in the starting lineup Sunday.

David DeJesus and Ian Stewart, both lefty hitters, are also not starting in order to stack the lineup with right handers.

Before the game, the Cubs announced that they purchased the contract of right-hander Rodrigo Lopez and outrighted infielder Luis Valbuena to Triple-A Iowa. Lopez is available today out of the bullpen.

Nationals starting lineup:

1. Ian Desmond, SS2. Danny Espinosa, 2B3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4. Adam LaRoche, 1B5. Jayson Werth, RF6. Mark DeRosa, LF7. Roger Bernadina, CF8. Wilson Ramos, C9. Gio Gonzalez, P

Cubs starting lineup:

1. Reed Johnson, RF2. Joe Mather, 3B3. Starlin Castro, SS4. Alfonso Soriano, LF5. Jeff Baker, 1B6. Geovany Soto, C7. Marlon Byrd, CF8. Darwin Barney, 2B9. Matt Garza, P

-- Meghan Montemurro


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