Everyone off their ledges-Carlos Zambrano, and the Cubs, are fine.
Zambrano had an MRI arthogram performed Friday afternoon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and was said to be at home resting. Despite what was previously reported, Zambrano had the arthogram procedure rather than a simple MRI. Turns out the arthogram is a bigger deal than I had thought. There's a great link describing the procedure in detail here. But, basically, a local anesthetic shot is given and then doctors shoot dye directly into the joint with a needle. A number of x-rays are then taken and doctors are able to analyze the joint more accurately due to the contrast provided by the dye injection. Sounds painful.
The results of the test showed that Z has only a mild strain in his shoulder. His rotator cuff looks good and, in what can be considered really good news, so does his labrum. (Great article here on Slate from BP's Will Carroll re: why pitchers and the health and durability of their labrums are such a big deal.) Says Jim Hendry:
"The good news is there was no structural damage to the two main parts of his shoulder," said general manager Jim Hendry. "The two worrisome parts of his shoulder are the labrum and the rotator cuff, and they're in very, very good shape for a man who has pitched as many innings in the big leagues that he has."Zambrano will meet with team medical staff on Saturday and they'll go from there. The team has already said that Z will miss his Tuesday start, but if he'll be out any longer is up in the air for now.
I wouldn't rule out a DL stint and, in fact, I'm both expecting and hoping for one. I don't want to get Z out of his rhythm, but taking this opportunity to shelve him for a bit to keep his season workload down is not a bad idea. The further we get into the season, the more clear it is becoming that this year could be special. It's great to have the best record in baseball in June, but what's that get you? I'd much rather have Z, Marmol, Wood, Howry, etc. healthy and with plenty left in the tank to make a run into October.
Word from Paul Sullivan is that the Cubs will call up Eric Patterson...again...on Saturday in light of the nagging injuries to Reed Johnson and Jim Edmonds. To make room, Z to the DL would be a better solution than sending down a bat.
Also, with Monday's off day, Sean Marshall probably won't be needed until next Saturday. The Cubs can skip Z's turn in the rotation and get by on 4 SPs until then. Next Saturday we'll probably see Patterson sent back down...again...and Sean Marshall called up to start.
We dodged one here guys. Looks like we're going to be okay for now. Onward.
Anyone else keep checking around the Interwebs all day today looking for the results of Zambrano's MRI? Yeah, me too. Turns out he's not having the MRI until Friday. So we're going to have to do that all day again tomorrow.
The good news is that the cubs are hopeful Zambrano will only be out a short time. The bad news is that the Cubs team doctors gave Z the once-over today in Chicago and we haven't heard the "all clear" signal sounded.
The team has confirmed that Zambrano will miss at least one start, this coming Tuesday against Baltimore. He could miss more pending the results of this computer test thingy. It's sounding like Sean Marshall will be called up to make the start on Tuesday and, if necessary, beyond. To do so, the Cubs will need to make a corresponding move-either putting Z on the DL (which is probable in my opinion-no need to rush this, let's just keep him healthy) or sending down a guy like Hoffpauir or Murton (less likely with the interleague play).