SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Cubs pitcher Matt Garza will probably have a nice bruise on his back to go with his tattoos.Garza was lifted from Friday's 5-4 loss to the Royals as a precautionary measure after getting hit in the back with a line drive by Jeff Francoeur in the second inning. The right-hander was making his first start and second Cactus League appearance and had retired the side in order in the first. He gave up a single to Billy Butler to open the second and was then struck by Francoeur's liner on the lower right side of his back. Garza finished the inning and was scheduled to hit to open the third. Instead, he was lifted for pinch-hitter Max Ramirez. Cubs manager Mike Quade opted not to use a designated hitter to give Garza a chance to hit in game situations.
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"Everything's fine," Garza said. "I'm a little upset. The reason I finished that inning was so I could hit and 'Q' pulled me out. I said, 'Man, that's the only reason I finished the inning.' It's one of those things. At least, I know my body can take it."After he was hit, Garza buckled a little and then looked for the ball. "I saw that [shortstop Starlin] Castro got it and saw I could take a good deep breath and that's when I felt it," Garza said. "I was more upset that I didn't make the play." Garza faced seven batters in his outing, throwing 26 pitches, 20 for strikes. He allowed just the one hit in a scoreless effort. After he was hit, he went down to the bullpen and threw some more to reach his scheduled pitch total for the day. He knows he'll have a mark on Saturday. "It's all right," Garza said. "I've got tattoos all over my ribs." Garza only threw fastballs in his outing. That's his focus early in Spring Training. "Fastball location is first and foremost for me, and everything comes off of that," he said. "It's cold in April and nobody likes hard stuff in April. You go right after them and get in on their hands and get them unexpected, and it's a lot of fun." The Cubs acquired Garza, 27, in January from the Rays in an eight-player deal. The right-hander was 15-10 last season. His game-day preparations didn't go well. Garza forgot his No. 17 jersey and wore No. 94. He simply forgot his shirt. After being hit, he will probably stick with No. 17, right? "I only gave up one hit today, so we'll see," he said, smiling.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.