The Cubs Spring Training Report – 02/21/06

Mark Prior’s Latest Injury? Juan Gonzalez a Cub? More Spring Training Pictures

The health of the Cubs pitching staff has been the biggest question on the minds of the Cubs Faithful for several years. The Cubs success over the past three seasons has depended heavily on the health and success of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. While we know what is going on with Kerry Wood, the health of Mark Prior is now in question and is in the forefront of Cubs Fans everywhere. Will Carroll from Baseball Prospectus released some very troublesome news on Monday. Also, could Juan Gonzalez be on his way to Mesa and there are more Spring Training pictures from Yahoo Sports.

Updated – 6:08am

First the fun and easy….Yahoo Sports has new pictures from Monday’s practice in Mesa, including real pictures of Juan Pierre in a Cubs’ uniform….Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno are also in there….now to the news.

What is really going on with Mark Prior? Will Carroll from Baseball Prospectus wrote this on Monday:

You can’t have spring training anymore without pitcher problems or at least rumors of said problems. Those usually start with the Cubs, and this year is no different. Reliable sources–the same ones that tipped us early to Mark Prior’s Achilles problem–now tell us that Prior is having shoulder problems. The Cubs deny this and point to Prior’s work on the mound. Prior was doing towel drills on Saturday, but this is the same type of work he was doing last year when there was a problem. According to our best sources in Mesa, Prior looks “weak and sick.” Until he throws, we just won’t know, though I’d like to believe Larry Rothschild.

News is better for Kerry Wood, on track to get back in the rotation by May. The Cubs have depth in the rotation and a favorable early schedule to give them time, even if Wood has a small setback. Wood will return to the rotation. If he’s ever a bullpen guy, it won’t be for the Cubs.

The Cubs season relies heavily on Mark Prior and could this be another season with Prior starting on the DL instead of on the 25-man roster? Is this the reason Jim Hendry was shopping Prior during the off-season? Everything I read and heard on the radio over the weekend stated that Prior was O.K., he was just sick and fell behind schedule. Who do we believe now? I listen to Will Carroll and even reported on what he had to say about the Cubs a while back. He has nothing to gain by reporting this….so what is going on? I hope this is just a bad rumor. Prior has the stuff to be an amazing pitcher but he has to be on the mound for an entire season first. WGN is also reporting that Prior has yet to throw off the mound. If he has not thrown off the mound by the weekend, there is a major problem.

Updates – Reports from the Daily Herald and Chicago Sun-Times denying Priors injury

XM Radio reported on Monday the Cubs are looking at signing Juan Gonzalez to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training. Apparently the Cubs are one of three teams in Puerto Rico looking at Gonzalez. JuanGon played 1 game for the Indians last year and has not played an entire season since 2001 with the Rangers (70 in 2002, 82 in 2003, 33 in 2004). Here are Juan’s career stats from the Baseball Cube. Gonzalez used to be a threat from the right side of the plate. Could this be the platoon partner for Jacque Jones?

Also, the sports world lost another voice on Monday….Curt Gowdy. He once said, “I tried to pretend that I was sitting in the stands with a buddy watching the game, poking him in the ribs when something exciting happened. I never took myself too seriously. An announcer is only as good as yesterday’s performance.”….Thank you!!!

Check back for updates from Spring Training, you will be able to read about your Cubbies here and don’t forget to check ‘Cubs News from the Wire’ for your latest on the Cubs.

Well that’s the news….and I’m sticking to it!!

Quote of the Day

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth