Shoulder Injury Puts Angel Guzman's Career In Jeopardy

Angel Guzman has always had the stuff. Since breaking into professional baseball in 2001, he's offered an electric arsenal of pitches, establishing himself as one of the better pitching prospects in baseball. It's 2010 now, though, and Angel Guzman only has 157 innings of Major League experience. The reason? The poor guy can't stay healthy.

  • 2003: shoulder surgery
  • 2005: forearm stiffness
  • 2007: Tommy John surgery
  • 2009: upper arm strain
  • 2010: knee surgery

...and now this. Reports Paul Sullivan:

MESA, Ariz. -- An MRI confirmed the Cubs' worst fears on Saturday.

Angel Guzman has a significant ligament tear in front, bottom part of his right shoulder, a career-threating injury for the 28-year-old right-hander.

Guzman had been shut down with shoulder soreness a couple weeks ago, and yesterday's MRI didn't offer even a glimmer of good news. The injury is related to the discomfort that dealt a premature end to his 2009.

Guzman will have two options: he can either undergo surgery, or try to strengthen his shoulder without going under the knife. The evidence is that few players who go through the procedure are able to return successfully, so the likelihood is that Guzman will choose rehab for now, but he hasn't yet made a choice. Should he go the rehab route, he should know within 4-6 weeks whether it's going to work. Regardless of his decision, he'll be facing long odds, a sad break for a talented arm.

When healthy, Guzman's known for his powerful fastball and 90mph slider. He also throws a curveball and an occasional change, and he was a strong candidate to be the Cubs' setup guy. Without him, the job will likely go to Esmailin Caridad, unless the team goes off in pursuit of an available veteran.

Read more at Bleed Cubbie Blue.

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