Righthandeer Angel Guzman's injury hits Cubs hard

Published: 3/6/2010 10:15 PM | Updated: 3/6/2010 10:16 PM

MESA, Ariz. - Cubs righthander Angel Guzman will be sidelined a minimum of 4-6 weeks and likely longer because of an "unstable shoulder," said Cubs general manager Jim Hendry obn Saturday.

Hendry called Guzman's injury "a significant tear" and a "ligament injury," the type that doesn't repair itself.

Guzman's situation significantly impacts Cubs' roster. While surgery is a possibility, the Cubs are aware that most major rotator-cuff surgeries, while successful in and of themselves, don't always enable the player to make a comeback.

The Cubs will focus on strengthening Guzman's entire shoulder as a way of buffering the injured area, although Hendry noted Guzman's shoulder strength is otherwise good. Guzman will undergo 4-6 weeks of therapy, and then the Cubs will put him on a mound, see what he can do and go from there. Surgery will be the last option.

"Surgery is so unpredictable," said Hendry, noting medical research on such procedures supports the thesis that the player often does not make a successful comeback.

For Guzman, who was reluctant to meet the media because, "He's a basket case today," said Hendry, his injury creates changes in the Cubs bullpen.

Hendry and Cubs manager Lou Piniella noted that Guzman was a likely seventh-inning pitcher who might even work into the eighth.

Now Guzman's spot will likely be filled by someone who could be a starter this season but would get bumped when Ted Lilly returns sometime in May. Hendry admitted, "It adds one more piece to the puzzle. That was the plan before this.

"If we don't get somebody by April 3, (it doesn't mean) we whiffed. We're not going to sign anbody to sign anybody."

Piniella called the situation "not very optimistic. It opens up a slot for sure. We've got some good young arms. We might be able to fill that slot with a rotation pitcher."

Piniella named Carlos Silva, Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall and Tom Gorzelanny as four pichers competing for two rotation spots. Of the two who earn a spot, one would eventually end up in the bullpen anyway.

Within two hours of Piniella running off that list, Silva gave up 6 runs on 7 hits in 2 innings to the White Sox, including 2 long home runs and 5 RBI by DH Carlos Quentin.

"We've got plenty of time to get ready for the season," Piniella said. "Pitching-wise, these guys are competing for jobs."

Guzman at one time was on a meteoric rise through the Cubs organization and was rated by some as potentially the next Carlos Zambrano. Guzman has had a history of injuries, and his brother died in the off-season.

Life according to Ozzie: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen says he'd rather manage the Sox for $100,000 a year than any other team for "$20 million."

There's one catch.

"As long as Jerry's here," he said of working for White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. "I'm blessed with my team (general manager) Kenny (Williams) gave me."

As much as he loves and respects Cubs manager Lou Piniella, Guillen said he wouldn't take Piniella's job or his salary ($4 million).

Guillen believes Piniella, in his final contract year, will come back. Guillen called the Cubs under a Piniella a perennial contender and outstanding team, although he joked that Piniella's age of 78 (he's actually 65) could be a consideration.

Clubhouse closed: The Cubs closed their pregame clubhouse a half-hour earlier than usual Saturday morning for a "security" meeting that lasted about an hour for all team members. Mandated by Major League Basebll, the meeting covered a lot of electronic business, as to what to "Tweet" and what not, and to be careful about what gets posted on various social-networking sites. The White Sox already had the same meeting with MLB.

First of five: Saturday was the first of five meetings between the cross-town rivals during spring training. The other games are today at Camelback in Glendale; a pair of games next weekend in Las Vegas and Friday, March 19, in Glendale.

Peavy time: Jake Peavy starts for the White Sox today, to be opposed by Jeff Samardzija. In the other half of Sunday's split-squad event, the Cubs' Tom Gorzelanny draws Dodger phenom Clayton Kershaw.