Elbow injury shelves Prior

Posted: Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Now the Chicago Cubs have two injured aces.

Mark Prior will be out indefinitely because of inflammation in his right elbow, joining fellow fastballer Kerry Wood on the sideline. Wood, slated to start on opening day, is out with bursitis in his right shoulder.

Cubs trainer Mark O'Neal said Monday the 24-year-old Prior has some inflammation in the elbow joint and a little irritation to the ulnar nerve.

Prior, an 18-game winner in 2003, missed the first two months of last season because of right Achilles' tendinitis and stiffness in his right elbow. Last July, he missed a start because of discomfort in the elbow. But Prior and O'Neal both said the current injury is not related to last year's problem.

Prior made his Cactus League debut Thursday, when he threw three innings against Seattle. He said Monday that while doing some routine postgame exercises, he felt discomfort in the elbow.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Prior saw elbow specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum last weekend and had a precautionary MRI on Sunday.

''There is no damage to the nerve,'' Hendry said in Mesa, Ariz. ''The ligament remains exactly the same from the MRI last year.''

Prior was supposed to pitch Tuesday against Kansas City but will miss that start. O'Neal said that in addition to rest, Prior is taking anti-inflammatory medication and the Cubs would see how he responds to the rest and medication before determining when he will begin throwing again.

Prior is scheduled to make his first start on April 5 at Arizona, the Cubs' second game of the season.

Wood played catch on flat ground Monday, testing his right shoulder. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said the right-hander felt fine, and he could throw off a mound on Wednesday.

Rothschild said he expects Wood and Prior to be ready to make their first start of the regular season.

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera also has a sore right elbow, but his problem is not considered serious. He will be out at least a few days with mild bursitis.

''It's not a major concern,'' manager Joe Torre said in Tampa, Fla. ''He will probably pitch by the end of the week.''

Rivera is not concerned, and expects to be ready for opening day.

''I threw yesterday and everything was fine,'' Rivera said. ''Today, I got to the field and it felt like my elbow was a little sore. It's a little swelling in the elbow. I'll be ready for the season.''

At Bradenton, Fla., Todd Ritchie told the Pittsburgh Pirates that he plans to retire, ending his comeback bid after missing nearly two seasons because of a right shoulder injury.

The Los Angeles Dodgers got much better news about Brad Penny in Vero Beach, Fla., where he had an impressive 65-pitch bullpen session.

Penny threw 14 breaking balls — the first he's thrown this spring as he continues his recovery from a nerve injury in his right biceps last season.

''I felt really good,'' he said. ''Even the changeups were good, which surprised me because it was the first time I'd thrown them.''

If his next session goes well, it's possible Penny could pitch in an exhibition game by this weekend or early next week.

''It was really good for the first time. The fastballs were almost all at full strength,'' he said.

In spring training games:

Yankees 5, Pirates 2

At Tampa, Carl Pavano allowed one hit in four scoreless innings and Tino Martinez hit a two-run homer. Pavano hasn't allowed a run in nine innings this spring.

Marlins 4, Twins 3, 11 innings

At Fort Myers, Fla., Dontrelle Willis pitched four strong innings for Florida, giving up just one hit and one unearned run. He struck out four and walked two.

Braves 5, Cardinals 1

At Jupiter, Fla., Raul Mondesi, Rafael Furcal and Andruw Jones homered off Jeff Suppan. John Thomson allowed three hits in four shutout innings and has not allowed a run in nine innings this spring.

Orioles 5, Red Sox 3

At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Miguel Tejada had three hits and Chris Stynes tripled home the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning, handing Boston its fifth straight loss. Geronimo Gil homered for the Orioles, and starter Daniel Cabrera allowed three runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings.

Phillies 10, Blue Jays 8

At Clearwater, Fla., Toronto rookie starter Gustavo Chacin was roughed up for the second outing in a row. Brett Myers allowed two runs, five hits and two walks in four innings for the Phillies.

Reds (ss) 7, Tigers (ss) 5

At Sarasota, Fla., Eric Milton worked five strong innings for Cincinnati, retiring 11 of his last 12 batters. He became the first Reds starter to complete five innings this spring.

Tigers (ss) 3, Reds (ss) 2

At Lakeland, Fla., Magglio Ordonez made his debut in right field for the Tigers. He went 1-for-3 at the plate and showed some range in the outfield, making a running catch in right-center to end the top of the fifth.

Detroit's Rondell White, competing for the starting left-field job, went 1-for-2 and is 12-for-19 (.631) with two home runs and three doubles this spring.

Angels 10, Rangers 6

At Tempe, Ariz., Chan Ho Park pitched four shutout innings for Texas. Park allowed one hit, walked none and struck out two. He entered with a spring ERA of 10.80 in two outings covering five innings. Paul Byrd worked the first four innings for the Angels, giving up four hits and two runs.

Padres 4, Mariners (ss) 3

At Peoria, Ariz., Seattle's Scott Spiezio hit his first homer of the spring, a two-run shot off Brian Lawrence, who allowed three runs and five hits in four innings.

Brewers 6, Royals (ss) 3

At Phoenix, Russell Branyan boosted his chances of winning the Milwaukee Brewers' third-base job, going 3-for-3 with a two-run homer. Catcher Damian Miller also went 3-for-3 with an RBI.

Jose Lima gave up four runs and six hits in 2 2-3 innings for Kansas City.

Rockies 11, Diamondbacks 8

At Tucson, Ariz., Tim Olson hit his second grand slam of spring to lead Colorado. It was Olson's fifth hit in 11 at-bats, but the utility infielder was reassigned to the minors after the game.

Rockies center fielder Preston Wilson got an early chance to test his surgically repaired left knee, running out a weakly hit infield single in the first inning.

Luis Gonzalez legged out a triple, his first extra-base hit in 16 at-bats for the Diamondbacks.

White Sox 9, Cubs 5

At Mesa, Aaron Rowand homered twice and Juan Uribe, Joe Borchard, A.J. Pierzynski and Paul Konerko each hit home runs for the White Sox with the aid of a strong wind. Mark Buehrle gave up five runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings.

Ryan Dempster, in line to be the Cubs' fifth starter, gave up six hits and four runs in four innings.

Mariners (ss) 4, Royals (ss) 4

At Surprise, Ariz., Kansas City's Kevin Appier gave up four runs and three hits, including Jeremy Reed's solo homer, and walked three in 2 2-3 innings.

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