Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Cubs could add pen help; eventually Ozzie?

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It may take until late in the month, when rosters around baseball begin taking shape, but look for the Cubs to add at least on veteran reliever to their staff before Opening Day.

Meanwhile, the news that Angel Guzman's shoulder injury could be career-threatening and takes him out of the team's plans for 2010 doesn't mean the team will rush to try to make a deal.

``We were counting on this young guy, to pitch in the middle-to-late part of the ballgame,'' manager Lou Piniella said. ``We thought we needed one [more] pitcher. Now we're going to have to work hard to see what we have in camp and see if we can fill that gap somehow.''

Whatever the Cubs do from the outside, it isn't likely to involve a player with much of a salary, making a guy like San Diego's Heath Bell a pipe dream unless something close to Bell's $4 million salary is heading the other way.

The Cubs already knew Guzman's long history of health issues - including shoulder soreness that sidelined him the final two weeks last season - was something that could always re-enter the picture. So from a baseball standpoint, his injury isn't the kind of shock to the system that leads to crisis thinking.


``If we don't get somebody by April 3, it's not like we've whiffed,'' Hendry said. ``We're not here to imply that other people should trade people they need for their own club. You never know.

``That being said, we've made good deals in camp. It takes good fortune and it takes the right match. We're not going to sign anybody to sign anybody just because [Guzman] went down.''


WHAT ABOUT SILVA?

After today's poor spring debut, you wonder less about whether Carlos Silva can win a rotation job than whether he's going to be fit for a role anywhere on the staff. Obviously, it's one outing, and it means nothing if he rebounds from here. But for a guy with so many problems in Seattle the past two years, and who was said to be throwing well in camp before this, it doesn't inspire confidence.

But Silva, who gave up six runs in two innings - including five on two Carlos Quentin homers - said he can't worry about whether today was s setback.

Or whether he winds up in the rotation or in middle relief by default.

``Of course, I want to win the spot in the rotation, but right now I have to just worry about getting my stuff back,'' he said, ``because no matter if I'm a starter or a reliever, if I don't have my stuff, I'm going to lose a job either way. So I've got to keep working and keep learning, and right now I'm trying a lot of different things.''

Piniella said Silva's control was OK, but most of his pitches were thigh-high and that the veteran needed to raise and lower the hitter's eye level more to be effective. Never mind the fact that as a sinkerball pitcher, those pitches be coming in at the knees - or at least ending up no higher than that.

``That's one thing we can work with him on his next throw day,'' Piniella said.

Meanwhile, Silva, the underachieving righty with $25 million left on his contract that the Cubs got for Milton Bradley said the shoulder that put him on the DL last year is fine.

Next for him: trying to forget today. ``I have to. If these games stay with me, I'm going to be a mess.''


OZZIE ON THE NORTH SIDE?

Ozzie Guillen said he doesn't believe this will be Piniella's last year with the Cubs - especially now that his ``life is easier'' because ``one of his biggest headaches left'' in the Silva trade. And he also said he feels sorry for whoever follows Piniella and his to fill those ``big shoes.''

So could Guillen be that guy? ``Can I handle the Cubs?'' he said. ``Hell, yeah, I can manage anywhere I want.''

But he reiterated his undying loyalty to Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and said he'd never manage anywhere else as long as Reinsdorf and GM Kenny Williams want him.

``But Jerry sells the team or something happens to him,'' Guillen said, ``then we're talking.''

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on March 6, 2010 7:25 PM.

On ex-Cubs, near-sighted pitchers and prospects was the previous entry in this blog.

Cubs' Guzman plans career-threatening surgery is the next entry in this blog.

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