Thursday, May 04, 2006

dl triplets update: part 2

another installment of the neverending story sees kerry wood on his way back but mark prior and wade miller set back again.

prior has reportedly fallen afoul of some food poisoning.

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Prior is battling food poisoning that he picked up here in Arizona. Rothschild added that Prior will resume his throwing program once he is able, but no one can be certain right now when that might be and how long it will take him to feel at full strength again.

Prior also had to deal last December and January with a respiratory ailment that he contracted at his San Diego home. That delayed his preparations going into spring training, where he unexpectedly suffered a shoulder strain in early March while throwing in the bullpen.

as to whether or not to actually believe anything the cubs say about prior, this page will leave that decision to you, dear reader. it is perhaps notable that, as of this writing, even with bloggers and their competition swarming all over the news, there's no mention of prior's setback or miller's on the tribune website. this writer, for one, would not be surprised if prior's shoulder pain has proved stubbornly persistent in spite of the cubs' best efforts.

more happily, kerry wood has had a tentative return date set for may 17 -- but, as soon as that was said, the tribune set about managing expectations as they so often have before.

Judging from the recent comebacks of Wood and Prior, Cubs fans could see the returning duo as saviors on a team that must rely on strong starting pitching if it hopes to stay in contention without injured first baseman Derrek Lee. Wood wanted no part of that role.

"I'm just going to be one more guy in the rotation, trying to do my job," he said. "I'm not going to look at it by any means of being a savior. It's almost ridiculous for people to think that."

with relief for the desperation of millions hanging on his words, this is a remarkably honest thing to say -- even if it does smell a bit of the reflexive responsibility deferral that dusty baker's team has become known for. this team's largest problems to date has been offensive in nature, not defensive. wood's return does nothing to score runs. moreover, he'll probably be noticably handicapped -- full recovery from labrum procedures, when it occurs at all, often runs well more than a year and wood is just eight months removed from surgery.

finally, wade miller feels that sometime in the first couple weeks of june should be about right.

Miller, meanwhile, returned briefly to his Wyomissing, Pa., home to have his right shoulder examined after he just didn't feel right.

"They said the back of my shoulder was just real tight and I had to stretch it out more,'' he said. "The plan now is to stretch it out a little with long toss and get back to throwing batting practice as soon as I can."

Miller said he remains hopeful that he can be pitching for the Cubs by the first two weeks in June.

this constitutes another quiet deferral of miller's return date, whose recovery was only recently described as being two weeks behind wood's and was once rosily forecast by some to fall sometime early in may. this page long ago warned that getting anything worthwhile at all out of miller in 2006 would be unexpected, and still feels that way. it is hopefully proved wrong.

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