The future status of right-handed pitcher Angel Guzman remains in doubt until an MRI is read Friday afternoon on his sore right shoulder. The often-injured Cubs reliever was recovering from left knee surgery early in spring training before complaining about his right should a couple of weeks ago.
Guzman threw 30 pitches on flat ground March 1 and was scheduled to continue his throwing program early next week, but that’s out for now.
Manager Lou Piniella, like most of the team’s front office, is frustrated by Guzman’s current injury.
“It doesn’t look good,” Piniella said. “It really doesn’t look good. We’ve known for a little bit now that coming out of spring training was very little or no chance of him being ready. Hopefully, that’s all it is. We’ll see.”
Piniella went on talking about the bad luck that Guzman has faced coming into camp.
“He comes into spring training and before you know it, first the knee and after that it’s the shoulder,” Piniella said. “It seems like the kid is jinxed. What this does, basically, is open the door for somebody else.”
Right-handed pitcher Jeff Gray is also behind schedule and has yet to pitch off of the mound this spring.
Piniella said on Friday that Gray still has some soreness in the groin area. Gray strained his groin in Mesa working out before spring training began.
The Cubs manager said Esmailin Caridad is the leader on the team for the right-handed setup role in the bullpen. At this point, Piniella isn’t ready to look at any of the rotation hopefuls as bullpen possibilities. However, with injuries to Gray and Guzman it’s inevitable that two of the four pitchers vying for rotation spots -- either Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Silva, Sean Marshall or Tom Gorzelanny -- will be directed to the bullpen.
-- Silva will pitch against the White Sox on Saturday at Hohokam Park. The White Sox will start rookie Daniel Hudson. This is the first spring training game between the two teams in 2010. They will play four more times, including two next weekend in Las Vegas. Piniella has decided not to go with the team on the trip next weekend, opting to stay back in Mesa and manage the split squad games Friday and Saturday. Piniella said he wanted to spend some time with his wife, Anita, who will return to the couples’ home in Tampa on March 14.
-- The hunt for other pitching help continues as the Cubs are watching the San Diego Padres and Blue Jays this spring. Both of those teams have surplus bullpen pitchers to deal. “I know [Cubs GM Jim Hendry] has told me that he has scouts following a couple of teams in particular,” Piniella said. “We’ll see where that goes. If not, we’ll have to do it with what we have.”
-- Piniella continues to be impressed with outfielder Tyler Colvin, who had a cup of coffee with the Cubs last September. Colvin added 20 pounds of muscle to his frame in workouts over the winter. The Cubs No. 1 pick in 2006 has five hits in six at-bats so far in his first two Cactus League games. “It’s good to see,” Piniella said. “I saw him in BP earlier this spring and the ball was jumping off of his bat pretty good. It’s carried over into the games early in the spring.”