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Cougars Notebook: Cubs change plans with Garza

Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – Left-hander Michael Heesch uses the pronoun “we” when talking about Cubs history.

Forget that the Cougars’ parent club only drafted Heesch last summer; he’s a Prairie Ridge graduate, Bartlett resident and noted Cubs fan.

Those attributes figured to put Heesch first in line in the would-be Matt Garza welcome wagon, although Heesch suggested the whole team held interest. Garza, a Cubs right-hander, was set to make a rehab start at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark tonight before the Cubs changed their plans Thursday, citing the cool, wet weather.

Now Garza will begin mending his strained left lat muscle in a simulated game in Milwaukee, hours away from a group of minor leagers eager to share a clubhouse with him.

“I mean, he’s a big-league guy. It’s cool to see a big-league guy throw,” Heesch said. “That’s how you look at it no matter where you’re from, no matter what team you’re with.”

News of Garza’s initial itinerary broke Tuesday night, as the Cougars played in Beloit. Word of the Cubs’ change of plans came Thursday morning.

Cougars players monitored the developments casually, reading news or social media updates. Manager Mark Johnson took the same approach, and was not in consistent communication with Cubs officials about Garza.

“If he shows up, he pitches and we’ll accommodate however we need to,” Johnson said. “It’s just wait to hear from the people up top.”

Garza is expected to report to Double-A Tennessee after today’s 35-pitch simulated game. Earlier this month, rehabbing second baseman Darwin Barney told Chicago reporters he’d likely be coming to Kane County, but he ultimately headed elsewhere.

Make it a Rockbuster night: The Cougars’ postponement-pocked road trip to Wisconsin and Beloit was scheduled for seven games but reduced to four because of a series of snowouts and rainouts.

A handful of Cougars saw a screening of the newly released Jackie Robinson biopic “42” when the club’s April 12 game in Appleton, Wis., was postponed. Count designated hitter Rock Shoulders among the favorable critics.

“I loved it,” Shoulders said. “It was inspirational, just everything I expected.”

Et cetera: The American flag in center field flew at half staff to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. ... Righty Lendy Castillo, Garza’s Cubs teammate in 2012, started for the Cougars. ... Shoulders, a Tampa, Fla., native, said he saw snow for the first time during the recent road trip.

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