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The year of the injury

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What's a good way to ruin the positive vibes brought on by winning 6 of 7? Losing 3-2 to Milwaukee after being up 2-0 is a nice start, but watching your main RBI man dislocate his shoulder and head to the deal for 4-6 weeks finishes the job.

Aramis Ramirez was injured for the second time already in this young season, and this time it was a doozy: He dislocated his shoulder diving for a line drive and proceeded to roll around on the ground in tremendous pain.

One of the keys to success is avpiding big injuries to key players, and while Alfonso Soriano was injured during parts of the last few seasons, the Cubs seemed to have bats to spare. Not so this year, and in addition to A-Ram's injury, obviously the worst this season, we still have Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto battling chronic pain, Carlos Zambrano out briefly with a pulled hammy, Carlos Marmol have recovered from a sprained knee that looked bad when it happened and Kevin Gregg possibly having some sort of pccasional stiffness.

The Cubs have let two division titles go by without winning a play-off game, and perhaps the nature of the sport is catching up with them a little. But, it's still early--we're going to say that until at least the All-Star break.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee's win tonight gave them sole possesion of second place in back of the Cardinals, and the Brewers have been looking very strong lately, so the Cubs need to hang around regardless of who gets hurt. Tonight, Randy Wells, just up from the minors, kept them in the game and left with a 2-0 lead after only 84 pitches. Wells pitched well in spring training, and the way the bullpen has been going, blowing the game for him tonight, maybe Wells has a chance of sticking around for some relief duty after Zambrano gets healthy (Jeff Samardzija was already shipped out for being ineffective in his brief call-up, so the pen spot is there for the taking.)

Another bit of news: The Joey Gathright Era has ended. He was traded to favored trade partner Baltimore for versatile, speedy Ryan Freel. With A-Ram out, the timing could be good for Freel to get some starts, since he has played plenty of third base in the past. Freel, like Gathright, has had strong moments in a career that has never quite fulfilled its promise. He can still steal a base, but he's older than Gathright, and, uh-oh, kind of injury prone (He already missed time this year after getting hit in the head with a pick-off throw.) Oh well, if he does any better than Gathright's 3-14, he'll be worth the paperwork.

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