JoeBo

And no, this is not about the B-96 disk jockey.

It's about a man who we were ready to fry last year, until it was revealed that he was trying to pitch through a serious injury, that's how much he wanted to contribute. Of course, the more he pitched, the worse it got, and finally Joe Borowski had to toss the towel in on the 2004 season.

What's amazing is that he has now apparently rehabbed, without surgery on the shoulder (he did have his knee scoped in the offseason), has lost weight, and is throwing harder than he did before the injury.

There has been speculation on everyone from Ryan Dempster to LaTroy Hawkins (ugh!) to Robb Nen, as to who will eventually surface as the Cubs' closer.

But JoeBo put together two pretty good years in 2002 and 2003...

W L G GF SV IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA
4 4 73 25 2 95.2 84 31 29 10 29 97 2.73
2 2 68 59 33 68.1 53 23 20 5 19 66 2.63

... the first of those as a setup man, the second as closer, in the NL Central championship year.

Note particularly, the number of walks -- 2.7 per nine innings in 2002, 2.1 per nine innings in 2003. Joe throws strikes. He's no Eric Gagne, but he knows how to get hitters out.

It's very easy to say, this early in the spring, that all is going well, as Borowski says:

Well, on a selfish level of course you'd want to (close). But more immediately, I want to get back to what I'm used to doing out there, let everything else take care of itself and after that not worry about things out of my control.

It's sort of an unwritten rule in baseball that you don't lose your job to injury. Dusty Baker kept to that rule last year when he restored Mark Grudzielanek to the lineup after his injury, despite the fact that Todd Walker was hitting great and the Cubs were winning with him in the lineup.

If Borowski shows during spring training that he is pain-free, has good velocity and can close games as he did in 2003... well, that ought to solve the closer problem, as well as give the Cubs two really good setup men in Hawkins and Dempster.

I'll be rooting for him. Regular Joe is a favorite of mine -- he works hard, doesn't whine, and contributes.

Would that every major leaguer should do the same.

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