Chicago Cubs reliever Angel Guzman has had his fair share of bad luck with arm troubles, and even with St. Patrick’s Day approaching the luck of the Irish has failed to find him yet again. An MRI revealed a significant tear in a ligament in his throwing shoulder, and will sideline him indefinitely. Guzman plans to get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, who performed shoulder surgery and Tommy John surgery on Guzman, and will make his decision from there as to whether or not go ahead with a third procedure. The surgery would in no way promise him full recovery, but it may provide him with the opportunity to pitch in the majors again, whenever that may be.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, Guzman looked to be the guy they were going to rely on in late inning situations before the ball was handed off to closer Carlos Marmol. Guzman had made significant strides in 2009 in terms of establishing himself as a legitimate force in the Cubs pen, and had posted a sub 3.00 ERA for the first time in his career with a 2.95. With the inability to pitch in his current condition, and presumably being out for the year—if not the majority—if he goes ahead with the surgery, manager Lou Pinella will have to look to other, unproven options in key late-inning situations.
Newly acquired pitcher Carlos Silva is the only pitcher in the pen with more than 5 years of big league experience, and one must wonder if that lack of experience in the pen is going to hinder the Cubs chances this season. The bullpen is by far the most questionable portion of their roster, and the loss of Guzman has created an even more daunting question for coaches. Do not be surprised if the ever busy Jim Hendry picks up the phone and makes a move to solidify the pitching staff and limit the amount of damage done in those middle to late innings that hurt the team so much last year.