Right-handed pitcher Angel Guzman has added an achy right shoulder to the list of his maladies. Guzman had knee surgery to repair the left meniscus two weeks ago. The Cubs pitcher told me that this is not a serious shoulder problem. He believes that he will be ready to pitch in a week or 10 days.
Left-handed pitcher Ted Lilly was home on two consecutive days with a high fever of 103 degrees. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said that he’s hopeful that Lilly will be in camp either Friday or Saturday to begin throwing again in order to rehab his surgically repaired left shoulder.
Right handed pitcher Jeff Gray should be able to start throwing at the end of next week before according to Hendry. Gray suffered a groin strain before camp began.
Talking off the record, several Cubs felt bad for Cardinals’ enigmatic hitting coach Mark McGwire. The conversation stemmed from McGwire’s slippery brother releasing a book on his supplying of steroids in the form of the HGH drug to the former St. Louis slugger.“The guy has to be a real dirtbag,” said one Cub. Another said that though McGwire’s reason for coming clean is unclear, he doesn’t deserve to have to be dragged through the mud by his own brother.
Manager Lou Piniella told a few media people about the one time that he was called during a game in the dugout by New York Yankee owner George Steinbrenner when Piniella managed the Yankees.
“We were in Anaheim,” Piniella said, “and it’s the fourth inning. All of the sudden, I see our trainer coming up the stairs from the clubhouse with a long wire and a telephone connected to it (remember, no cell phones in 1985). I said, ‘What’s this?’ and the trainer started to plead with me to take the call from George Steinbrenner. As soon as I get on, George starts yelling. He says, ‘Whose side are you on!?’ Piniella laughed, ‘And what are you doing!?’
Steinbrenner, the Yankee owner said in a sarcastic tone, ‘And if you think you want to take a pitcher out, leave him in! If you think you want to leave the guy in, take him out!’ Steinbrenner told Piniella, showing his distrust for Piniella’s decision-making at that time. “George was livid. Finally, when I got a word in edgewise, I said to George, ‘What inning is it?’ George said, ‘It’s the fourth.’ Then I said, ‘What’s the score?’ and George said ‘3-1.’ Then I said, ‘Who’s winning?’ and he said, ‘You are.’ Then I started laughing and said, ‘And that’s a problem?’”
Piniella continued to laugh and smile as he reminisced the tough love Steinbrenner showed for his employees.
Piniella said on Thursday he wasn’t ready to name an Opening Day starting pitcher, however, he related that since Carlos Zambrano has been his opening day starter for the past three years, he’s really not inclined to change that now.