CHICAGO – It’s no secret Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has been negotiating for more night games at Wrigley Field.
A city ordinance limits the Cubs to 30 night games a season, leaving plenty of day games on the home schedule. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein admitted Monday that adding night games would increase the Cubs’ revenue and help with a future TV deal.
However, lately, the Cubs haven’t thrived in night games at Wrigley. Although they entered Tuesday’s game .500 (254-254) in night games since their first at Wrigley in 1988, the Cubs went 10-20 last year under the lights. They haven’t posted a winning record in home night games since 2008 (20-8).
“The travel is such a big deal, especially leaving or coming to [Chicago] and playing that day game,” infielder Brent Lillibridge said. “Even [Sunday] we got here decently early, but we’ve got a quick turnaround to get right back out there.
“We have the home field, so we should be able to dictate parts of the schedule, so we can feel rested and ready to go the next day because it’s a long season.”
The day games could be an advantage for the Cubs, because major league teams aren’t used to playing day games on the first day of a road trip. Despite losing 101 games last year, the Cubs went 38-42 at Wrigley last season, including a 28-22 record in day games.
Garza’s spring starting: Matt Garza’s lat strain sidelined the right hander for most of spring training, but the Cubs are hopeful his return is in sight.
After throwing on flat ground and throwing long tosses before Tuesday’s game, manager Dale Sveum said Garza’s version of spring training is beginning now. Garza originally suffered the injury nearly two months ago in Mesa, Ariz., during the Cubs’ first full-squad workout.
“That’s all going really well,” Sveum said. “A couple more bullpens and he’ll go out and pitch a couple innings.”
Where Garza will go for his rehab assignments is still up in the air because of the weather, but when he does, building arm strength is a top priority. Garza hoped to be back with the Cubs by May 1, however, Sveum said four weeks from now – which would be the second week in May – is more realistic, barring no setbacks.
Quick hits: Sveum said second baseman Darwin Barney (cut on left knee) will be sent on his rehab assignment this weekend and will play Saturday, Sunday and Monday with the location still to be determined. He’s expected to rejoin the team Tuesday against the Rangers. … The Brewers have become unbeatable. After going 47-31 (.603) against the Brewers from July 7, 2006-June 16, 2011, the Cubs are 6-22 (.214) in the teams’ past 28 games.