MESA, Ariz. -- For the first time since September 2009, Cubs pitcher Angel Guzman will face hitters.
Guzman, who underwent right shoulder surgery one year ago in March to repair a significant tear, was scheduled to throw a live batting practice session on Wednesday. It may be a workout on a side field, but it's a big step for Guzman, whose career has been slowed because of injuries.
The right-hander has yet to throw full speed in his side sessions and will make his last tune-up on Sunday. The Cubs had talked about having Guzman throw to hitters in mid-March but have moved up the date because of the progress he's made.
"Now I feel I can let the ball go," Guzman said. "Now, it's important for me to get into a rhythm."
The last time he faced hitters was Sept. 8, 2009. He pitched in 55 games that season in relief, the most in his young career. But that was his final game of the year because of pain in his shoulder at that time.
Dr. James Andrews did the surgery in March 2010 -- as well as Guzman's other elbow and shoulder procedures -- and the pitcher has been rehabbing since. What's been key to his progress is how well Guzman feels the day after he throws.
"They're happy because of the way I'm feeling," Guzman said. "I'm happy, too."