Borowski designated for assignment

Borowski designated for assignment

CHICAGO -- Joe Borowski found himself to be the 13th pitcher on the Chicago Cubs' 12-man pitching staff.

Borowski was designated for assignment on Wednesday to make room on the 25-man roster for Kerry Wood, who was activated in time to start against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field.

A class act to the end, Borowski acknowledged he could see the move coming.

"When you first come back, you realize you're trying to fit back in but after the first couple weeks -- even a bunch of [the media] came up and said, 'Is everything all right?'" Borowski said. "You're pitching when you get blown out or every fourth, fifth day. I realized after a couple weeks that I wasn't fitting in and pretty much didn't have a role. It's unfortunate, but hey, it happens."

Borowski injured his wrist on March 21, and was slowed at the start of this season. He had a 6.55 ERA in 11 games with the Cubs, giving up 12 hits -- including five homers -- and one walk over 11 innings. He struck out five.

Cubs manager Dusty Baker said it was one of the toughest decisions he's had to make.

"The deciding factor was we had to make a move and couldn't go with 13," Baker said. "Our left-handers are doing pretty good. Sergio [Mitre] is doing good, [Michael] Wuertz is doing good. Joe was actually No. 13."

The Cubs have 10 days to trade Borowski, who doesn't expect this to be the last stop on what has been a career of ups and downs.

"Hopefully, you'll get a chance somewhere else," he said. "Not only physically but mentally, I'm right where I was two years ago. The last couple of times out I felt fantastic. The ball's had great life."

In his last outing (June 24 against the Chicago White Sox) he struck out two of the three batters he faced. He said it was the best he's felt all year. Borowski was most pleased with the fact that he had thrown a bullpen session earlier that day.

The wrist injury this spring dropped him in the order.

"I think it set me back in part where I came back and everybody had been doing their roles for so long, so it was, 'Where do we put him?'" Borowski said. "I understood that and that's fine. You try to do everything you can to be back in there and you're sitting there and things aren't changing."

It's been a roller coaster ride for Borowski, whose career has included stops in the Mexican League. The 34-year-old right-hander was the MVP of the 2003 season when he took over the closer role and saved a career-high 33 games.

"In the end, [2003 season] will be bittersweet because you were that close to being in the World Series," he said. "The ride we had is something I'll always remember.

"I love this organization, I love everybody here," Borowski said. "I understand totally where they're coming from. Sometimes change is the best thing for everybody. I loved my time here. I appreciate the chances they gave me. It's unfortunate, but that's how baseball is. You never know where you're going to be one day to the next."

Baker knows Borowski isn't finished.

"His velocity has gotten up the last two (appearances)," Baker said. "Certainly Joe isn't through. He's very capable of helping somebody. It just came to the point where we couldn't carry another pitcher."

Borowski is ready to get started. Is he confident he can come back?

"Definitely. Without a doubt," he said. "The way I feel right now, no question. That's the unfortunate thing. If this was happening two weeks from now, I have no doubt it would even happen."

Borowski had started throwing in the bullpen every other day for the last week and a half to get more work in, and the pitcher said that made a difference.

"I started throwing more instead of sitting around four days," Borowski said. "We discovered that too late."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.