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When it comes to pitchers, Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry has shown a penchant for loving two things: middle relievers and reclamation projects.

So when an opportunity to combine his two passions came along, he simply couldn’t pass it up.

The Cubs sent a scout to watch Kelvim Escobar throw in Venezuela. The right-hander had surgery in 2008 to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. He won 18 games in 2007 but has been limited to one game over the last two in the big leagues because of shoulder problems. Other teams watching Escobar throw included the Rays, Brewers, Giants, Pirates, Tigers, Mariners and A’s. Muskat Ramblings.

I’m a bit too hard on Hendry in this instance. Escobar is not expected to get a Major League deal, and so if he wants to join the Cubs on a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite, so be it. Just don’t expect much: Escobar, for all intents and purposes, has not pitched in over two years. A torn labrum is a notoriously difficult injury for a pitcher to overcome.

But he is still just 33, and when he was able to pitch, he was always very good.

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