Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Posted: 2:26 p.m.
By Patrick Mooney
The comparisons were already out there, the next big thing from Texas throwing 100 mph heat. When a reporter mentioned it to Kerry Wood, the response came just as fast: Dont do that to the kid.
This was during spring training, as Andrew Cashner built up his arm strength trying to become the frontline starter the Cubs envisioned.
The 24-year-old looked like he belonged in his first big-league start on April 5, but left suddenly in the sixth inning. He didnt even shower and went directly to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for an MRI.
Cashners staying positive as he deals with a strained rotator cuff. Hes taken advice from Wood, who had to reinvent himself after a series of injuries. Hes been listening to Ryan Dempster, who came to the Cubs months after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
The biggest thing guys tell me is keep working hard, Cashner said.
Cashner and Randy Wells (forearm strain) will begin a throwing program on Friday and be examined again on April 27 before the Cubs leave for their next road trip.
Club officials do not want to make projections about when they might return to the rotation because, as Cashner said, (with) a timetable you kind of set yourself up for failure.
In the meantime, Cashner will keep working on his shoulder, using bands to strengthen his arm and running as much as he can to get into even better shape.
I always get anxious to get back out there and get going, Cashner said. Its just kind of one of those things (where) I have to sit and wait for a time to throw. I want to be healthy more than anything. You dont want to feel any pain and right now I dont feel any pain.
The Cubs would have been forced to monitor and manage Cashners workload even if he hadnt gone on the disabled list. He had pitched only 177.1 innings across parts of three minor-league seasons before getting promoted last year and becoming a power arm out of the bullpen.
When the Cubs made Cashner a first-round pick in 2008, they loved his smooth, easy delivery and judged him to be less likely to break down. They are still cautiously optimistic that he will be a factor this season.
For his part, Cashner is blocking out any negative thoughts or doubts or fears that this could have long-term consequences.
I dont try to think too much about that, Cashner said. The more you think about something, you start to worry about (it). Im just trying to get it healthy and get back going again.
Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.