A day off for the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday gives us a chance to assess the team as it heads into the stretch run of spring training. There are nine Cactus League games remaining and two more exhibition contests in Houston before the Cubs begin the regular season on April 1 in Pittsburgh. Here are some issues facing team president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and manager Dale Sveum: Injuries The injury to Matt Garza has complicated matters for the rotation but not as much for his trade value as you might think -- at least not yet. If the Cubs are going to unload him it's probably going to happen near the trade deadline. As long as he's healthy and pitching well near that time they shouldn't get much less for him than if he was throwing now. Then again his lat injury has lingered long enough and combined with his return from elbow problems it remains to be seen if he actually will be throwing consistently into the summer. The more pressing issue is getting enough quality starts without him. Carlos Villanueva is better in the bullpen and Travis Wood and Scott Feldman are probably better suited down a notch in the rotation, but that's not how things will begin this season. The Cubs should consider Chris Rusin – who's been very good this spring -- as their No. 5 starter until Garza is ready. He's a natural starter and it strengthens the bullpen by allowing Villanueva to return. They can always make a change if it doesn't work out.
Injuries testing Cubs' improved depth
ESPN | Mar 20