News Keeps Getting Worse for Guzman

Angel Guzman (GETTY)

Look for Cubs general manager Jim Hendry to step up his efforts to land a veteran right-handed reliever, most likely via the trade market.

The Cubs got more bad news when right-handed setup man Angel Guzman was diagnosed with a torn ligament in his pitching shoulder. He will be out indefinitely.

Guzman underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in January, and while throwing from flat ground in the early days of spring training, he felt discomfort in the shoulder. He had to be shut down in September last year because of soreness in the triceps area.

"If he misses any more significant time, it will be hard to get him ready," Hendry said.

The Cubs had hoped Guzman would be ready to pitch in Cactus League games by the middle of March, but that's not going to happen now.

On top of that, right-hander Jeff Gray, obtained in an offseason trade with Oakland, continues to be slowed by a groin strain. The Cubs thought Gray would be ready to throw off a mound by now, but that hasn't happened at all this spring.

Right-hander Carlos Marmol is the closer, and veteran John Grabow is the top left-handed setup man.

Manager Lou Piniella already has said that young right-hander Esmailin Caridad would have to pitch his way off the team this spring. Right-hander Jeff Samardzija has had some success out of the pen since 2008, but the Cubs are grooming him to be a starter. It's possible Samardzija could start the season in the bullpen, particularly if veteran right-hander Carlos Silva pitches well and earns a rotation spot.

The Cubs have youngsters Jeff Stevens and Justin Berg in camp. Both saw big-league time last year. Hendry has vowed to keep looking all around the majors for help.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Guzman is considering surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right shoulder. He said the team told him he'd need four to six weeks of inactivity before starting to rehab the shoulder, but he said he'd consult with Dr. James Andrews to determine whether to go under the knife.

Guzman underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in January, and he hurt the shoulder while throwing from flat ground early in spring training. He had to be shut down in September last year because of soreness in the triceps area.

--LF Alfonso Soriano missed the first two Cactus League games, but he was expected to be in the lineup during the first weekend of March. Soriano is coming off arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, performed last September. Soriano came to camp and said he had pushed the knee to only 85 percent, but as the early days of spring training passed, he said the knee felt fine. Soriano will be the Cubs' No. 6 hitter this year.

--OF Tyler Colvin came to camp with an extra 25 pounds of good weight on his 6-foot-3 frame, bringing him to about 210 pounds. Colvin, the Cubs' first-round draft pick in 2006, started the Cactus League opener in left field and went 3-for-3 with a homer and two doubles. Colvin came up last September, but only because the Cubs were short in the outfield. It's expected he'll open the season at Class AAA Iowa, but Piniella won't rule him out of the opening-day roster. "He has a chance. Why not?" Piniella said.

--RHP Randy Wells tossed two hitless and scoreless innings in the Cubs' exhibition opener. Wells, who began last year in the minor leagues before coming up and going 12-10 with a 3.05 ERA, is on track to start the third game of the regular season in Atlanta.

--RHP Carlos Zambrano worked two scoreless innings in the second game of the Cactus League season. Zambrano is lined up to start his sixth consecutive opening day, April 5 at Atlanta. He came to camp after losing 10 to 12 pounds and saying he's in one of the best physical shapes of his career.

--CF Brett Jackson, the Cubs' first-round pick in 2009, started the second game of the exhibition season and tripled once and walked twice. Jackson appears to be a fast-tracker who could open the season at Class AA (Kodak) Tennessee after making several low minor league stops after signing last year. The Cubs say Jackson, a product of Cal Berkeley, is a five-tool prospect. He helped Class A Peoria to the Midwest League playoffs last season, batting .295 with seven homers and a .383 on-base percentage in 26 games.

"I'm always trying to improve on every aspect," Jackson said. "I'd like to steal more bases. I'd like to hit the ball harder and more times. I'm pretty comfortable with my defensive skills, but I'm always trying to improve those, as well. We'll see where I am at the end of March and at the end of the season."

BY THE NUMBERS: 9 -- Extra-base hits for the Cubs in their Cactus League opener, a 9-3 victory over Oakland. Hitting homers were Brad Snyder, Derrek Lee, Marlon Byrd, Sam Fuld and Tyler Colvin.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I like Lou. I'm waiting for the season when he turns it on and gets that intensity and that fire going. Right now, he's another guy that's making it easy, coming in smiling." -- CF Marlon Byrd, on manager Lou Piniella.

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