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Cubs' Garza a hit with teammates off the mound, too

Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 7:09 p.m. CDT

(MCT) CHICAGO — Few starting pitchers are as engaged in every game as Cubs starter Matt Garza, whose status remains in doubt as trade rumors swirl.

"He's a leader in this clubhouse," pitcher Jeff Samardzija said. "He leads by example. Obviously he can talk a little bit. But that's not his main point. He does that for fun because he enjoys talking. But the way he leads is the way he goes about his day and the way he works and the way he pitches on every fifth day. He's just a great dude to have."

Manager Dale Sveum also has appreciated Garza's level of involvement.

"He's one of the hardest-working pitchers you are going to be around," Sveum said. "Even the four days he doesn't pitch, he's on the bench rooting his teammates on. You're always going to hear him on the bench. He's just one of those special starting pitchers that's always going to be involved in the game. And position players who play every day and other players appreciate that."

Keep going: The Cubs entered Sunday night's game having won six of their previous eight games and 13 of 21.

"The (All-Star) break is kind of coming at a weird point for us, especially with how we're playing," Samardzija said. "We'd like to keep playing. But we're looking to take a break, take three or four days and get our bodies back under us ... and make a strong run for the second half. We start off out west (against the Rockies, Diamondbacks and Giants), where we had some trouble last year. Hopefully we can right the ship out there and play some good baseball out of the gate."

Roster move: The Cubs designated relief pitcher Henry Rodriguez for assignment and added outfielder Cole Gillespie to the roster.

Gillespie, 29, was claimed off waivers Saturday from the Giants. Gillespie, who wears No. 2, was a teammate of Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney at Oregon State, where they helped lead the Beavers to the 2006 national championship.

"We shared a lot of great memories together and it's great fun to be reunited again at the big league level," Gillespie said.

Rodriguez, acquired from the Nationals on June 11, is 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA in 22 relief appearances with the Nationals and Cubs this season.

No more grinding: Sveum says he plans to relax a bit break during the All-Star break.

"It means a lot because from the start of spring training ... a few of our days off we had to play games. So it has been a grind for 4{ months," Sveum said. "The coaching staff, they work and work and work. It's never-ending for us. It's a 24/7 job."

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