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Spring Headlines: Cubs’ Matt Garza gets injury scare, Helton apologizes for DUI

David Brown
Big League Stew

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(AP)

The Chicago Cubs say the "yelp!" that right-hander Matt Garza let out during his first live batting practice session Sunday was related to a mild strain of the lat muscle on his left side. It had nothing to do with his right elbow, which bothered Garza in 2012 enough to put him out for the final two months of the season. Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune was on the scene in Mesa, Ariz.:

Garza threw 20 pitches in what was supposed to be a 40-pitch session. Garza said he thought it was a water cramp.

"The elbow was fine," he said. "Everything on my right side was fine. So I was like 'What the hell?' The ball was coming out of my hand good, I had good control, downward movement. I was happy I threw the ball well. A little frustrated, but it's early."

Sveum said there's no real understanding of what happened.

"They happen from a sneeze and a cough sometimes," he said. "It's one of those things. There's no rhyme or reason to lat pulls and rib cages and all that. No one has figured it out."

He's right, as least as far as the Cubs go. Sammy Sosa pulled a muscle sneezing once. It happens!

Helton apologizes for DUI: Though he declined to be specific, Colorado Rockies slugger Todd Helton said, as quoted by the Denver Post, "I am determined to learn from my mistakes, and I've gotten help" after getting a DUI on Feb. 6.

Renck also writes that several teammates, including Michael Cuddyer, said Helton didn't owe the team an apology because the incident was out of character for him. Manager Walt Weiss said Helton "faced the music" by doing a press conference and talking to teammates, but considered the matter otherwise closed.

It's not the Rockies fault that our society is soft on drunken drivers, but those kind of platitudes don't help. And it's much easier to be forgiving about Helton's transgression because nobody got hurt. But when you consider that Helton drove drunk because he wanted to purchase lottery tickets despite having made about $160 million in his career playing baseball, it makes you wonder even more about his judgment.

Helton says he never thought it could happen to him. Which part? Driving drunk or getting caught?

Jeter expects to be ready for opener: The spring schedule of Derek Jeter will be lighter as he continues to recover from a broken left ankle, yet he expects to be on the field when the New York Yankees open the regular season. The plates and screws inserted into his ankle during surgery probably will remain there forever, but once he starts playing in spring games — in two or three more weeks — neither the aftermath of the surgery or a shortened timeline will prevent him from being ready to go. As quoted by Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Jeter said:

"I'm going to have to push myself, but Opening Day has been the goal all along."

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