Cubs Latest Injury Bug: The Internet

Carlos Zambrano's right arm continued to be a hot topic even though he threw seven shutout innings and allowed the best team in baseball just one hit on Saturday.

Zambrano came out of the game after throwing 108 pitches, and the bullpen gave up five runs in the final two innings of the Cubs' 5-3 loss to the red-hot White Sox.

Why was he yanked after seven?

Zambrano left his previous start on May 14 in the fourth inning because of what was called "tennis elbow-like" symptoms by Cubs officials.

But in an odd twist of events, it was disclosed that his wrist also might have been hurting because he was using a computer for four or five hours a day.

"We're all a victim of the modern age," manager Dusty Baker said. "That Internet can be addicting. We're not sure that's was causing it, but we know that it's because of non-throwing activities.

"We're still searching for clues."

Some theorize that Zambrano's woes came about because of a May 8 appearance against Philadelphia in which he threw 136 pitches in a complete-game victory over Philadelphia.

But Zambrano has insisted that the long workday had nothing to do with his recent problems.

NOTES, QUOTES

  • C Michael Barrett was out with an inflamed right shoulder. Baker said Barrett could be used in an emergency situation if backup Henry Blanco is injured. But he would prefer that Barrett rests.

    "I'm counting my blessings they think I will only miss a few games," Barrett said. "But I still think I can make a start either (Saturday or Sunday). It feels a lot better today than it did on Wednesday."

    INF Jose Macias is designated as the Cubs' third catcher behind backup Blanco and usual starter Barrett.

  • RHP Joe Borowski was activated from the disabled list after recovering from a fractured wrist, suffered in spring training. Borowski, who saved 33 games in 2003, isn't expected to be thrown into late-inning action right away.

  • INF Mike Fontenot, who saw limited action in his second stint with the parent club in 2005, was sent back to Triple-A Iowa to make room for Borowski.

  • LF Todd Hollandsworth picked up a start in left field and batted second on Friday because he had some success against White Sox starter Freddy Garcia (.364).

  • RHP Ryan Dempster saved his second game in as many days when he beat Pittsburgh on Wednesday. But there is still some concern about the recently converted closer. He got into a bases-loaded jam with one out before he induced Jack Wilson to ground into a double play.

  • LHP Glendon Rusch threw 99 pitches in a no-decision against Pittsburgh on Wednesday and feels as if he is getting properly stretched out as a starter after spending April in the bullpen. Because of the shoulder injury to Kerry Wood, and Dempster going into the bullpen, Rusch will be sticking around in the rotation for a while.

  • 3B Aramis Ramirez missed three out of six recent games because of back spasms. He re-aggravated the back diving for a ball in the ninth inning of Tuesday's game against Pittsburgh.

  • RHP Scott Williamson, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, was placed on the 60-day disabled list in order to make room for INF Enrique Wilson on the 40-man roster.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 20 -- The number of consecutive days the Cubs are scheduled to play in the current stretch that started May 20. That includes a trip to Los Angeles and San Diego.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's just another home run -- I can't say it meant all that much." -- Cubs LF Jason Dubois, after hitting what turned out to be a game-winning home run against the White Sox on Sunday to help the Cubs avoid a sweep.


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