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02/14/11 4:33 PM EST

Guzman a 'long shot' to make Cubs' roster

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs pitcher Angel Guzman threw off the mound for the third time Monday since undergoing surgery on his right shoulder, but it's a "long shot" for the right-hander to make it on the team this season.

Guzman, who has a 3.15 career ERA in 74 relief appearances, will hopefully be able to pitch in a simulated game by mid-March.

"It's a long shot," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "He's here, he'll work, you know he'll do that, and modern medicine is unbelievable. A quick Tommy John, and you're throwing 94 to 98 [mph]. If he gets involved in this sometime, someday, it'll be great. Right now, it's a long way off."

Cubs pitcher Carlos Silva went home Monday with a 103-degree fever but was on the schedule to throw off the mound on Tuesday.

Others scheduled to throw Tuesday include Braden Looper, Casey Coleman, Trey McNutt, Thomas Diamond, Todd Wellemeyer, Randy Wells, Andrew Cashner, Kerry Wood, Justin Berg, Jay Jackson and Marcos Mateo.

Lefty James Russell had his first side session Monday. He's a candidate for the rotation, but if it doesn't work, Quade said Russell can easily be inserted back in the bullpen.

Pitching coach Mark Riggins has pitchers throwing in groups of four, and is having the sessions filmed for review. Quade stayed away.

"I don't want to be around when these guys are throwing sides right out of the chute," Quade said. "You ask guys to come to camp, take their time, get ready to compete for the games. You're not going to make the club today. [They might think], 'You know what, the skipper's around, he's watching on the side,' and they don't need that. The veteran guys, it probably doesn't affect."

Big Z wants to start Cubs' opener if asked

MESA, Ariz. -- Either Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster or Matt Garza will be the Cubs' Opening Day pitcher. Zambrano has started six in a row. Would he like the assignment on April 1 at Wrigley Field?

"Talk to Mike," Zambrano said Monday of Cubs manager Mike Quade. "He's the manager. I know I finished strong last year, but there are two more quality pitchers who can be the Opening Day guy, and I'm OK with that.

"Of course, I want to be the Opening Day guy, I want to open the season for the Cubs, but the season is in Mike's hands," Zambrano said. "If he decides to go with Dempster or Garza -- the thing is it's about feeling good and helping each other. I'm excited for those two guys and [Carlos] Silva and [Randy] Wells and whoever is in the rotation and that we can do the job and we can cause some damage in the big leagues."

Dempster said he'll defer to Quade, as will Garza.

"To me, it's just another day," Garza said Monday. "The way I see it, you've got five guys every day throwing as the No. 1 out there. On that day, nobody is better than that guy. To me it's really not a big deal. I feel it's an earned right. I don't know if I'm at that spot yet. If he feels that, so be it. I'm here to follow their lead."

Quade said he'll "milk" the decision for as long as he can.

"I want all three of them to want it and I'm happy with guys comfortable with whatever we decide," he said. "My decision will be based on looking at those three guys who we talked about and where they're at and what we see this spring. I'm glad Carlos wants it. That's great. Time will tell."

The focus for Zambrano this year will be whether he stays out of trouble. He was suspended following his dugout tantrum in late June and placed on the restricted list to undergo anger management therapy. He doesn't want to talk about what happened in 2010, including his strong 8-0 finish in his last 11 starts.

"I don't want to talk this year, I don't want to say anything this year," Zambrano said. "I just want to talk with my numbers, that's what I want to do."

So, does he have anything to prove?

"No, no, no, I leave that for rookies," Zambrano said, smiling. "They need to show they can pitch in the big leagues. I don't need to do that. I just want to stay healthy and try to do my job and start the season good. That's all I want."

Cubs to give Colvin time at first this spring

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs manager Mike Quade made sure to talk to Tyler Colvin on Monday. He admitted he should have done that on Sunday.

Quade mentioned on Sunday that the Cubs want to see Colvin at first base, but did so before he had talked to the outfielder.

"It'll be more than just a glimpse," Quade said of Colvin's playing time at first this spring. "He'll play some games over there."

Carlos Pena is the Cubs' everyday first baseman, but the team needs to find out whether they can count on Colvin as a backup at first if necessary. Jeff Baker is the only backup.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.