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Extra bases

• Cubs pitcher Matt Garza, on the disabled list with a strained left lat, was expected to join the team in Atlanta on Friday and start throwing off the mound.

Garza has been limited to playing catch on flat ground since he first felt the discomfort in his side Feb. 17 in a live batting practice session. The good news is Garza has had no problems with his right elbow, which limited him to 18 games last season.

• Cubs manager Dale Sveum was pleased with the defensive effort Monday, pointing out that shortstop Starlin Castro showed "maturity" on some plays that he might not have last year. First baseman Anthony Rizzo and second baseman Brent Lillibridge also made good plays.

• The Indians claimed Minor League right-handed pitcher Robert Whitenack off waivers. Whitenack was designated for assignment to make room on the Cubs' 40-man roster for infielder Alberto Gonzalez, who was added when Darwin Barney had to be placed on the disabled list.

Whitenack, 24, was 7-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 11 starts combined in 2011 at Class A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee, then had to be shut down with right elbow problems and underwent Tommy John surgery. Last season, he was 1-6 with a 5.96 ERA in 15 games at Daytona.

• Carlos Villanueva, who will make his Cubs debut on Saturday, starting against the Braves, threw a simulated game on Tuesday, an off-day for the team.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
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