MESA - Chicago Cubs right-hander Matt Garza suffered a mild back strain on his left side while throwing batting practice to teammates Sunday and is expected to miss at least a few days of practice.

Whether it will delay his start to the regular season, team officials said they would know more after he is examined again today. Garza was a candidate to start the Cubs' regular-season opener.

"It looks like a mild lat strain," manager Dale Sveum said.

Garza hasn't pitched in a game since July 21, when he left a start in St. Louis because of a "stress reaction" in his pitching elbow.

Inside pitch

• New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter could start running on the field in the next couple days for the first time since ankle surgery, and he said he still expects to be ready for opening day.

• Calling his recent drunk driving arrest a "monumental mistake," Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton fought tears as he apologized Sunday in Scottsdale and asked for forgiveness. He said he had never had a DUI problem before his Feb. 6 arrest. "I am determined to learn from my mistakes, and I've gotten help," he said.

• Detroit outfielder Brennan Boesch has tweaked an oblique muscle in his right side and expects to miss a day or two of spring training.

• In Goodyear, Nick Swisher has returned to his first spring training with the Cleveland Indians after attending his mother's funeral in Ohio. His mom, Lillian Marie Malizia, died in Columbus, Ohio, from leukemia. She was 63.