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Cashner set back by ‘tight’ shoulder

This is 2011 phoAndrew Cashner Chicago Cubs  baseball team. This image reflects Chicago Cubs active roster as Tuesday Feb.

This is a 2011 photo of Andrew Cashner of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. This image reflects the Chicago Cubs active roster as of Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

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Updated: June 18, 2011 12:39AM

CINCINNATI — Andrew Cashner, the Cubs’ top young pitcher, suffered a setback ­Monday in his efforts to return from a shoulder injury when he experienced “tightness’’ in the shoulder before a scheduled extended-spring-training start.

Cashner, who went on the disabled list April 8 after leaving his season debut with soreness, was expected to have another MRI exam in the next day or so.

The initial MRI exam revealed no structural damage in the shoulder, and team officials say the hard-throwing right-hander had sailed through rehab mile markers without a glitch until Monday. He was expected to start a minor-league rehab ­assignment next weekend until the start was scrubbed.

Cashner, a closer in college who became an effective late-inning reliever as a rookie last season, spent this spring building strength and stamina for a job as the fifth starter. For now, the Cubs say they have no plans to change that role when Cashner returns, even in light of this setback.

“Cashner’s a starter as far as I’m concerned, and we’ll make adjustments [in the rotation] when the time comes [for him to return],’’ manager Mike Quade said. “And I don’t know what the hell would change that, but ­nothing that’s happened to this point, that’s for sure.’’

Colvin sent down

The Cubs optioned struggling outfielder Tyler Colvin to Class AAA Iowa after the loss Monday to the Cincinnati Reds. The Cubs didn’t immediately announce a corresponding move.

“It’s something where he definitely needs to go play,” general manager Jim Hendry said. “We’re in the production business. It wasn’t that he wasn’t given enough at-bats. He didn’t earn enough at-bats. The other guys here outplayed him, too.”

Colvin, who slumped since spring training after hitting 20 homers as a rookie last year, actually has a few more at-bats this year (62) than he had through the same point last year (56). But he’s hitting just .113 with two homers. He hit .268 with three homers at this point a year ago.

“He needs to go down and play for a few weeks, and once he does, we can go back to the plan we had for him,” Hendry said. “He completely understood and was looking forward to getting some at-bats.”


New Cubs pitcher Doug Davis left the team after his start Saturday to be with his wife for the birth of their child Sunday. He is expected to rejoin the team within the next day in anticipation of his start Friday in Boston.

◆ Assuming no more rainouts in the next eight days, the Cubs will play 10 consecutive night games for the first time in franchise history, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The game tonight in Cincinnati is No. 3 in the stretch.

◆ The Cubs hope to get Randy Wells (forearm) back from the DL during the next homestand, barring setbacks in rehab starts scheduled tonight at Class A Peoria and Sunday at AAA Iowa.

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