MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs ace Mark Prior will be out indefinitely
because of inflammation in his right elbow, the latest injury to
one of Chicago's star pitchers.
Kerry Wood, slated to start on Opening Day, is sidelined with
bursitis in his right shoulder.
Cubs trainer Mark O'Neal said Monday the 24-year-old Prior has
some inflammation in the elbow joint and a little irritation to the
Prior missed the first two months of last season because of
right Achilles' tendinitis and stiffness in his right elbow. Last
July, he missed a start because of discomfort in the elbow. But
Prior and O'Neal both said the current injury is not related to
last year's problem.
"It's different," Prior said. "It's not the same injury."
Prior made his Cactus League debut Thursday, when he threw three
innings against the Seattle Mariners in Peoria. He said Monday that
while doing some routine postgame exercises afterward, he felt
discomfort in the elbow.
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Prior saw elbow specialist
Dr. Lewis Yocum last weekend and had a precautionary MRI on Sunday.
"There is no damage to the nerve," Hendry said. "The ligament
remains exactly the same from the MRI last year."
Prior was supposed to pitch Tuesday against Kansas City but will
miss that start. O'Neal said that in addition to rest, Prior is
taking anti-inflammatory medication and the Cubs would see how he
responds to the rest and medication before determining when he will
begin throwing again.
"I was going through some of my normal exercises after I pitch,
and I told Mark, 'Something doesn't feel right back here, not
necessarily unusual, but just different," Prior said. "As the
day went on, it just got a little bit stiffer.
"I came in the next morning and told them, and that's when we
decided to get everything checked out," he said.
Prior is scheduled to make his first start on April 5 at
Arizona, the Cubs' second game of the season.
Wood played catch on flat ground Monday, testing his right
shoulder. He was not available for comment, but pitching coach
Larry Rothschild said Wood felt fine, and if he feels well Tuesday
morning he might play catch again.
Rothschild said it's possible Wood could throw off a mound on
Wood took himself out of last Wednesday's start against Texas
after complaining of tightness in the shoulder. The Cubs sent him
back to Chicago the next day for an MRI. The MRI and a doctor's
exam revealed bursitis and inflammation around the rotator-cuff
muscles, the Cubs said.
Rothschild said he expects both pitchers to be ready to make
their first start of the regular season.