Another Setback for Guzman … and Notes from Day Nine of Camp Lou

After pretty much just a ‘baseball day’ on Wednesday, there was a little more news on Day Nine of Camp Lou IV … some good, some not so good.

Angel Guzman was shut down on Thursday with discomfort in his shoulder. Guzman complained about the pain in his shoulder during warm-ups on Wednesday. Guzman has been slowed this spring by knee surgery and was expected to start throwing off a mound this weekend.

Rafael Dolis hit Ryan Theriot on his left hand during live batting practice. Theriot is fine, other than a bruised hand. Lou Piniella said Dolis felt horrible about hitting Theriot.

In the wake of the news about Angel Guzman, Lou Piniella said Esmailin Caridad made the team. Piniella said, “Look, Caridad’s on the team. He’s almost got to pitch himself off of it.”

For the sixth year in a row it looks like Carlos Zambrano will be on the mound for Opening Day. Piniella said they have not decided but in his three years with the Cubs, Zambrano has been the Opening Day starter … Piniella does not anticipate anything different this year.

Here is the rest from day nine of Camp Lou, with positive news on Alfonso Soriano, Jeff Samardzija and an update from the rumor mill

Notes from Mesa

  • Ted Lilly missed practice again on Thursday with a very high fever. The Cubs are hoping Lilly will return on Friday … Saturday at the latest.
  • Jeff Gray is expected to be ready to pitch sometime next week.
  • Tim Sheridan updated his blog, Boys of Spring, with new photos including Xavier Nady in a Cubs’ uniform.
  • The Cubs are desperate for a backup at short according to Bruce Levine. They are going to give Mike Fontenot until March 12 or March 15 to prove he can handle the job. If Fontenot cannot, then Andres Blanco will be the top option. Levine added Starlin Castro would likely begin the year in Double-A or Triple-A … and get a little more seasoning.

Alfonso Soriano

Alfonso Soriano’s knee is feeling better according to a report from ESPN Chicago. Soriano said he’s had “excellent results over the past two days.”

Soriano told Bruce Levine that it appears all of his hard work over the winter has paid off. Soriano said he will test his knee “full throttle” when the Spring Training games begin next week.

He is hoping to play at least 150 games in 2010.

Angel Guzman

The Cubs shut down Angel Guzman for a couple of days for precautionary reasons. According to multiple reports, Guzman will not see a doctor or go for an MRI, the Cubs will evaluate where he is after some rest.

Reports suggested Guzman might be ready by Opening Day.

Jeff Samardzija

The Shark has impressed Larry Rothschild so far this spring. The Cubs say he is throwing the ball extremely well.

According to several reports, Larry Rothschild told Piniella that the first two years Samardzija was in camp he “looked like a football player who was pitching.” Rothschild said this year the Shark “looks like a baseball player that used to play football.”

Piniella said Rothschild’s statement was profound and he added Samardzija is “stepping forward and looking like a Major League pitcher.”

The Rumor Mill

The Cubs pursuit of a right-handed reliever might have intensified on Thursday. According to a report from Bruce Levine, the Cubs “are still pursuing other veteran pitchers.”

Levine mentioned the Cubs interest in Jason Frasor and Luke Gregerson. Heath Bell is apparently still on their radar but the Cubs lack of money and Bell’s high salary make the possibility of trading for Bell “remote.”

Bruce Levine reported during his update on the Afternoon Saloon, that Jim Hendry will have to make a move to help out his “paper-thin bullpen.”

Well, there’s the update … and I am sticking to it!

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Quote of the Day

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." – Arthur Ashe