Nope, if you're looking for controversy today, look elsewhere.
No ballplayers will be harmed in the writing of this post. See, I actually like and respect most major league players, particularly in the wake of my rehab for my finger injury -- I have a new respect for what these guys have to go through to get shoulders, elbows, knees back into condition after injury. And I only want "normal" use, not to be able to use my body parts in a professional sports event.
And one major leaguer in particular who has my attention and respect today is Angel Guzman, who rocketed into contention for the fifth-starter role with a solid, three-inning, five-hit, no-walk, one-run performance (the run was a gift, after a stolen base and an error on the throw by Jake Fox, and then a bloop single that likely would have been caught by Derrek Lee had he been at 1B today).
I mentioned this in the comments but thought I'd bring it to the front page -- I find myself in agreement with Ron Santo, who said on today's radio broadcast that he's all for Guzman as fifth starter... "if" Mark Prior doesn't make it.
Based on today's performance, in the 6-5 loss to the Royals, Prior's not going to make it, at least not for Opening Day. He was again all over the place with his command and control; his velocity was up a little from last time, but not enough to stop the Royals -- not a very good team -- from drawing three walks, getting four hits, and scoring four runs, including a home run by David DeJesus.
It is still early -- he has pitched only twice. But he had better show some results next time, or I think Mr. Guzman is going to rapidly take over and make the Opening Day roster. Guzman had good movement and had his fastball (clocked as fast as 97 MPH) sinking, getting the Royals to beat the ball into the ground, for the most part. It was a most impressive appearance. As an aside, Ted Lilly, who started the game, also threw a solid three innings, allowing three hits and a run, striking out two, and walking no one.
If the Cubs stick to the current schedule and rotation, both Prior and Guzman will throw again either Thursday in Mesa or Friday in Tucson -- I'll be at the Thursday game, and I suspect Prior wouldn't be asked to go to Tucson, while Guzman might.
Ryan Theriot, who has already made the 25-man roster, continued to impress, going two-for-four today and playing 3B, giving him even further versatility. Jake Fox hit a home run in the ninth inning, making the score close.
The score wasn't what mattered today. It was the rejuvenation of a pitcher, just 25 years old, who's been on the radar screen since 2003, only to have been derailed by injuries. It's never too late, and though I was a fairly harsh critic of Guzman last year, I can and will change my mind if I'm shown good reason to.
Today was a good step forward in showing that good reason. I'm hoping it continues. The Cubs could use someone with his talent, if he's got it back to the level he had when everyone was calling him "the next Zambrano".