Prior will have an exploratory arthroscopic procedure in
Birmingham, Ala., Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Monday. Dr.
James Andrews has been given permission for a more extensive
operation if he determines it is necessary.
"He's had some discomfort for a couple years," Hendry said.
"It's finally gotten to a point where it's probably the right
decision to let one of the best people in the world go and have a
look around to see if anything can maybe be fixed, if it doesn't
need something major. Dr. Andrews has the clearance if something
needs to be fixed or tightened up."
Prior, who made just nine starts last season, was optioned to
Triple-A Iowa after a poor spring training. He stayed in extended
spring training in Arizona and went on a minor league disabled
Prior was 18-6 in 2003, when the Cubs were five outs from
reaching the World Series. But he has been saddled with injury
problems ever since. He made 21 starts in 2004 and 27 in 2005, his
career untracked by injuries to his legs, elbow, oblique and
shoulder. He has been on the major league disabled list eight
Hendry talked to the 26-year-old on Sunday.
"He was in good spirits," Hendry said. "I think he's at the
point now where he realizes it's time for this to happen."
The Cubs signed Miller in January 2006 after he had arthroscopic
surgery on his right shoulder. He made five starts last year and
earned the fifth starter's spot out of spring training this year.
He is 0-1 with a 10.54 ERA in three starts.
"There's nothing wrong with his arm," Hendry said. "He's had
some back spasms, it's not anything serious."
Hendry sounded cautious about Miller's future with the club.
"We'd love to find a way to keep him and have him help out, but
he'll be the first to tell you he couldn't continue the way his
first couple starts have gone," Hendry said. "We'd like to give
him another shot. I'm one to believe his career is not over, that
he's got a little bit in the tank, as he showed us late in the
spring when he earned the job."
The Cubs will skip Miller's next turn in the rotation and Angel
Guzman, currently in Triple-A, is to take the No. 5 starter's next
scheduled turn on May 1 at Pittsburgh.