Chicago Cubs reliever Angel Guzman is considering whether to have shoulder surgery even though he has been told the procedure won’t necessarily save his career.
"It’s pretty sad, but what can I do? I’m still breathing," the right-hander said Sunday, one day after learning he had a torn ligament that could sideline him for the season. "I love pitching. I’ve been pitching since I was 4 years old. I’m not that young, but I think 28’s a good age to keep pushing it."
After examining Guzman and looking at the MRI of his shoulder, team medical personnel recommended four to six weeks of rest followed by gradual rehabilitation.
Article continues below ...
But Guzman, who missed last season’s final two weeks with shoulder pain, said: "I think there is no chance to get it fixed without the surgery."
"Doing rehab won’t do anything," he said. "I spent four months here working out (this past offseason). I felt as strong as ever … and there’s still pain."
He plans to get a second opinion as soon as possible from Dr. James Andrews, who repaired Guzman’s torn labrum in 2003 and performed Tommy John surgery on the pitcher’s right elbow in 2007.
"He did a pretty good job, so let’s see if the third one can get it finally done," said Guzman, who avoided arbitration by agreeing to an $825,000 salary for 2010. "It’s going to be tough, but it’s better than not having (surgery) and not having any chance. Doing it, I have a small chance … so why not take the chance?"
Told of Guzman’s comments, Cubs manager Lou Piniella said: "Good for him."
"I would give myself every chance, too," Piniella said.
Guzman is coming off his best season — a 2.95 ERA in 55 appearances — and was expected to be the righty setup man in front of closer Carlos Marmol. Now Piniella will spend the rest of preseason conducting auditions for that role.
The injury is only the latest trouble for Guzman, whose brother, Daniel, died in his arms two months ago after being shot in their native Venezuela. Guzman then underwent arthroscopic knee surgery a few days later for an injury he sustained while running.
He might take Piniella’s advice to go home and think before making any major decisions.
"The last two months, I have been through some issues," Guzman said. "Maybe going home is going to clear my mind and refresh me to come back and fight for my goal, for what I want."
In other Cubs news, utility infielder Andres Blanco is expected to miss 10 to 14 days with what the team is calling "a mild to moderate ligament sprain in his right knee."
Blanco, who is trying to win one of the last roster spots, got hurt Saturday against the White Sox.
Also, outfielder Xavier Nady is taking longer than expected to be game-ready after undergoing a second Tommy John surgery last year.
Nady signed a one-year contract for $3.3 million to back up all three outfield positions, and the team thought he at least would be ready to be used at DH during the spring.
Even though Nady said he feels fine swinging a bat, the extensive throwing he is doing to try to build up his arm makes him reluctant to face pitchers for now.
"I could have hit today," he said Sunday. "Then again, it’s my second reconstructive surgery and I want to be smart. I just want to have it all working together. Eventually I’ll be out there. Sorry."