Guzman to have surgery, out indefinitely
Veteran reliever had hoped to rehab injured right shoulder
MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs pitcher Angel Guzman, who has a significant tear in his right shoulder, said Thursday he will have surgery on the recommendation of Dr. James Andrews.
Guzman traveled to Birmingham, Ala., to meet with Andrews on Monday and have the torn ligament in his shoulder evaluated. Andrews will perform the surgery; the orthopedic specialist also did elbow and shoulder operations on the right-hander.
"[Andrews] said, 'Angel, listen, this happened because it's the same problem that you had last year,'" Guzman said. "[He said], 'You stopped throwing in September. You rehab for 4 1/2 months and you start throwing again and it comes back. It makes no sense to rehab again. The only way is to get the surgery done.'"
The other alternative to surgery was to take a conservative approach and rehab for four to six weeks. Guzman will have the operation on Tuesday. The tear was revealed March 6 after an MRI on his shoulder. Guzman, who was shut down last September because of discomfort in his shoulder, did not throw off the mound this spring.
There's no timetable for his return.
"I don't know how long it's going to take," Guzman said. "[Andrews] will talk to [athletic trainer Mark O'Neal] and explain it to him. Sometimes those doctors use language that is hard for me to understand. At least [Andrews] gave me hope.
"He said a lot of pitchers have had that surgery done before and have come back good," Guzman said.
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The pitcher's career has been interrupted by injuries, and last season was his best in the Major Leagues, when he appeared in a career-high 55 games, compiling a 2.95 ERA. Guzman was projected to handle late-inning relief this season.
It's been a difficult year already for Guzman, 28, who injured his right knee running in Venezuela, then lost his brother five days later when he was shot to death in Caracas on Jan. 11. Guzman underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in January.
The latest shoulder injury is not going to keep him from trying to come back.
"It's going to take more than that to keep me away," Guzman said. "I have to keep my mind the way I've been doing, like last year. That's the only thing I can control."
He does realize the procedure is risky.
"That's the risk I am going to take," he said. "I don't want, in two years, just thinking, 'Why didn't I do it?' I'd prefer to get it done now and see if I really can keep pitching."
Guzman didn't ask Andrews for specifics on when he could come back.
"I just asked, 'If I have the surgery, am I going to pitch again?' and he said, 'Yes,'" Guzman said. "That's all I needed to know."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.