MESA, Ariz. Bryan LaHair has waited years for this opportunity, to experience Opening Day in the big leagues for the first time, and now he has to deal with nagging back issues.
The Cubs will have LaHair take batting practice during Wednesdays workout at Wrigley Field and monitor how he responds after sitting out the final four games in the Cactus League. Even if the first baseman is scratched from Thursdays lineup, manager Dale Sveum expects him to be available sometime this weekend against the Washington Nationals.
Hes getting better every day, so well just see with the treatment, Sveum said before Tuesdays game against the Milwaukee Brewers. I dont think its a DL thing or anything like that, because hes got pretty good range of motion as far as rotation and all that. Its just the shooting pain.
I think hes had this before, like we all have. Once youve played a certain amount of time here, pretty much everybodys MRI will show some sort of a bulging disc.
The Cubs will fly out of Arizona on Tuesday without having made their final bullpen decisions. Non-roster players Rodrigo Lopez, Shawn Camp and Manuel Corpas are in the mix, along with Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo.
Sveum indicated the Cubs wont leave anyone behind, essentially carrying eight pitchers for seven spots, and again said theres a possibility the front office could add another arm.
That will be an 11th-hour decision, Sveum said. A lot of bullpens will (be that way) because of all the other stuff involved, the business side of things. Thats one thing you always have to kind of wait out.
Decision time is approaching on Castillo, a converted infielder from the Philadelphia Phillies organization who hasnt pitched above the Class-A level.
The velocity isnt quite what it was earlier in camp, Sveum said, but hes been pitching a lot more than he probably ever has, too. Thats one thing we had to eyeball. He had to get built up if hes going to be in that role (to) where he can pitch three innings, get to 50, 60 pitches once in awhile. He doesnt (have) the biggest frame in the world to put a workload on him, but hes got to get used to it.