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09/26/09 12:58 AM ET
Lee absolves teammate for neck injury
Cubs first baseman says Guzman not to blame for spasms
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Derrek Lee said Friday a celebratory slap on the head from Cubs teammate Angel Guzman was not the reason his neck spasms flared up and knocked him out of the lineup. The first baseman was not available because of the spasms, which he said were probably the result of a combination of his slide into second base on Thursday and possibly some exuberant congratulations in the duguout. Guzman had been named as the guilty party. "I don't remember," Guzman said. "I don't know why people are saying that -- that's not true," Lee said about blaming Guzman. "I don't know what it was. It could've been the slide. When I sat down, it locked up." Lee stole second in the ninth to set up Jeff Baker's game-winning two-run homer. When he got back to the dugout, he was slapped on the head by his teammates, and the double whammy may have aggravated his neck spasms. "[Lee's] neck is sore," manager Lou Piniella said before Friday's game. "He couldn't play tonight if we wanted to, and we won't use him to pinch-hit." Lee received treatment during Friday's game and was expected to be back Saturday. "The slide had something to do with it and the love tap on the top of his head," Piniella said. "All Guzman was trying to do was congratulate him for the stolen base and getting on base and scoring a run. It's something that just happened. I'm not faulting anybody." Piniella said he didn't see Guzman do anything outrageous. "I don't know that -- I was told," Piniella said. "I shook [Lee's] hand. I think we went to the videotape [to find out]." Piniella didn't blame Guzman or anyone else. "All Guzman was trying to do, or whoever, was be congratulatory," Piniella said. "Look, things happen." "I don't know what it was," Lee said after the Cubs' 3-0 win Friday over the Giants. "It just flares up sometimes and starts spasming. The slide probably started it. They should take [Guzman's] name out of it. I never said that." Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was a late scratch from Friday's lineup because of soreness in his left shoulder. Ramirez, who missed two months this season after he dislocated his shoulder on May 8 in Milwaukee, also was expected back Saturday. Kevin Gregg has been sidelined since Sunday because of mild left rib inflammation. He's improved, Piniella said, but wasn't available Friday. Gregg apparently felt something in his side when he threw a pitch Sunday in Milwaukee, his last outing, and it tightened up on him.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.