Chicago Cubs center fielder David DeJesus believes a healthy Matt Garza is vital to the team having a successful season in 2013.

"He is the key to our team," DeJesus said Wednesday of the Cubs' top starter. "Having a healthy Matt back makes our starting five a lot tougher. He's a No. 1-type of pitcher. Happy this (latest injury) happened now rather than closer to Opening Day. It also gives him more time for his elbow. ... It's a lat strain, those things heal up."

Garza said he's "feeling better" Wednesday morning after straining the left side of his body while throwing batting practice on Sunday. He's out at least a week after missing most of the second half of last season with an elbow problem.

It hasn't waned any enthusiasm in camp especially by DeJesus, who is optimistic about the season and wants to do more to help his team.

"I want to be a leader on the team," he said. "I want to be a guy that they can rely on. We have some young guys on this team. Us veterans have to be leaders and show them this is the way to play."