Cubs Notebook: March 23

Scott Williamson, who had "Tommy John" surgery performed on his elbow toward the end of last season, returned to camp this week after tending to a family matter.

Williamson threw off the mound on Monday and is hoping to return toward the end of the season.

Joe Borowski suffered a huge setback when he was hit by a line drive Monday and suffered a fractured right ulna. The Cubs said on Tuesday that the earliest he will be able to throw again is after six weeks, which wipes out his chances of winning the closer's job this spring.

LaTroy Hawkins, who saved 25 games and blew nine opportunities in 2004, and Chad Fox, who has been enjoying a successful spring, could emerge as in-house favorites to claim the closer's job with Borowski out.

Carlos Zambrano picked up the Opening Day assignment after Kerry Wood suffered a shoulder injury. Wood is expected to be ready the first week of the season, but Zambrano will get the April 4 start against Arizona.

Angel Guzman, who is one of the Cubs' top pitching prospects, made his third spring training start Wednesday. Guzman had shoulder surgery in 2003 and made just 11 minor league appearances in 2004 before he was shut down with a tired arm. But he is feeling better this spring and making the most out of his opportunities because of the injuries to Wood and Mark Prior. Guzman will likely open the season at Double-A West Tenn or Triple-A Iowa, but if he continues to impress, he could be a midseason call-up.

Jerry Hairston continues to show he's ready to contribute anywhere needed. He has played second base and all three outfield spots in spring training. While he is not slated to be a starter, he could still get plenty of playing time because manager Dusty Baker liberally uses his bench.


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