Injuries open up bullpen competition
Cubs righty Guzman set for MRI; Gray also remains out
MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs have more openings in their bullpen than they originally thought.Angel Guzman was to undergo an MRI on his right shoulder Friday and most likely will not be ready by Opening Day. "It doesn't look good," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said of Guzman. "We've been a little concerned about this for four, five days and it hasn't gotten any better. "It's a shame," Piniella said. "It seems like the kid is jinxed. What it does basically is open the door for somebody else." "It's sad," Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano said. "The guy works hard. ... Hopefully, the MRI is negative and he can come back and help us in the bullpen."
Jeff Gray, whom the Cubs acquired from Oakland and is another right-hander projected as a candidate for the set-up job, has yet to throw off the mound because of a strained groin."Gray is starting to get on the doubtful list," Piniella said. "Not doubtful; let's call it the 'borderline' list." Guzman, who appeared in a career-high 55 games last season, compiling a 2.95 ERA, has had troubles with his shoulder and elbow in the past. "If he misses any more significant time, it'll be harder for him to get ready," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "He has a history where the discomfort comes and goes." Right now, the only relievers set for the Cubs' bullpen are closer Carlos Marmol, right-hander Esmailin Caridad and lefty John Grabow. Both Caridad and Grabow would be the primary setup pitchers. With Guzman and Gray out, there are more opportunities for the young pitchers such as John Gaub, Thomas Diamond, Blake Parker, and James Russell. Another arm Piniella likes is Andrew Cashner, the Cubs' No. 1 Draft pick in 2008. "Cashner's a nice looking young kid," Piniella said of the right-hander. "That's going to be up to the organization. First of all, let's see how he pitches here. Let's see what the organization has planned as far as starter, reliever. I think Jim will make that decision and rightfully so." Gaub, acquired from the Indians in the Mark DeRosa trade, made his Cactus League debut on Friday. He gave up two hits, including Ryan Roberts' leadoff homer in the seventh, in 1 1/3 innings.
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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.