NOW we've got to see if it's torn or just strained/ sprained!!
[url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/cs-060314cubsprior,1,2294128,print.story?coll=chi-sportsnew-hed]MESA, Ariz. -- The specter of another injury-plagued Cubs season was raised again Tuesday when Mark Prior left camp to have his sore shoulder examined.
Dr. Lewis Yocum is to examine Prior on Wednesday in Los Angeles. Prior likely will have an MRI taken to determine whether there are any tears in the back of his right shoulder.
Trainer Mark O'Neal termed it "posterior rotator-cuff irritation" and said it was the first time Prior had complained of shoulder soreness.
"There haven't been any setbacks with any of the throwing," O'Neal said. "Anything that has been asked of him to this point, he has been able to meet without any restrictions whatsoever.
"It's unfortunate that today when he went out to throw he started having this. We feel enough about Mark that we need to get it evaluated."
Yocum, a nationally renowned sports orthopedic surgeon, examined Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee on Tuesday night after Lee bruised his left shoulder while diving for a foul ball in Sunday's U.S.-Japan game in the World Baseball Classic. The Cubs were awaiting word on Lee's status Tuesday night.
But the immediate concern was Prior, who has been star-crossed since his meteoric rise to the majors in 2002.
The 25-year-old right-hander has been on the disabled list five times in his four-year career, and his health has been an issue throughout training camp. An Internet report in February suggested he was hiding a shoulder injury. Prior repeatedly denied having any problems when the report surfaced.
General manager Jim Hendry said it was the first time this spring Prior had complained of any injury, but he knew Tuesday's news would exacerbate a perception that Prior had been hurt all along.
"It's unfortunate," Hendry said. "But the first time he has ever complained of discomfort since the day we got here was today. Obviously, it'll be perceived any way people want to perceive it, but there's no advantage to holding back until March 14 and then discussing a problem that we knew about earlier.
"It was very disheartening, [but I hope] it's just a little snag and he's back on his program at the end of the week. I can't tell you any more than the truth, and today was the first day he told Mark [O'Neal and pitching coach Larry Rothschild] he had a little discomfort. He wasn't in agony or anything like that, but we'd be foolish not to have Lew look at it."
Rothschild said Prior started to feel discomfort while playing long toss Tuesday morning at HoHoKam Park before a scheduled bullpen session.
Prior had thrown a 35-pitch, two-inning simulated game Sunday, his first of the spring, as part of a gradual throwing program designed to get him ready for his first scheduled regular-season start April 5. Over the winter,Prior had been treated for a serious upper-respiratory infection that put him behind in his training program.
Discussing the simulated game Monday in a brief session with reporters, Prior said he felt "a little uncomfortable at first, but I thought I finished strong." Rothschild said Prior's reaction Tuesday indicated it wasn't just usual spring soreness.
"It seems like it's a little more than that," he said. "If that were the case, we'd probably just see how it is [Wednesday]. We're not going to know until he's checked out."
Yocum has examined Prior before for elbow soreness and Prior had scheduled a trip home to San Diego for Wednesday's off day.
"We're all overly cautious for what has happened," Hendry said. "That's the path we're going to take."
If Prior's shoulder problem is determined to be less serious than feared, would he have to start his throwing program all over again?
"I hope not—that's not something I want to do," Rothschild said."We'll do what we have to do to make sure he's OK and whatever they tell us is the way it's going to go."
Manager Dusty Baker spoke to Prior after learning the news Tuesday and said the pitcher was feeling down.
"You could tell he was a little distraught," Baker said. "He wants to pitch, and he wants to pitch with nothing wrong."
If Prior is unable to start the season in the rotation, left-hander Rich Hill and Angel Guzman likely will vie for his spot.
"With Carlos [Zambrano] not being here and Mark not making his starts, that's probably a natural progression with some guys," Rothschild said. "We'll see where they get to and hope somebody steps up."[/url]
Once again, citing the Tribune, March 14, 2006, 10:36 PM CST
. I wonder if they had to negotiate what they can print w/ his agent, b/c he's an employee? I can't see them going 'Fred who works in the cafeteria is still out today, after laying open his thumb slicing ham yesterday...'