Grabow will close; Capps DL decision on hold


CHICAGO — Matt Capps pulled out his cell phone and called up a picture. It was taken in a mirror and showed Capps’ red, swollen right elbow … clearly bearing the imprint of a major-league baseball.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Capps said.

After being stuck by Geovany Soto’s line drive, Capps said his elbow did not begin to hurt until after he left the field and got inside the Pirates’ clubhouse.

“It was a shooting pain going down my arm into my ring finger and pinky,” he said. “It hurt and tingled. When it first happened, it sounded like a shotgun going off right beside me. I thought everything in my elbow was just blown up.”

Manager John Russell said Capps’ injury will be monitored closely the next couple of days. The Pirates are off Thursday, so it should be clear Friday whether or not he’ll have to go on the disabled list.

“I’m pretty sore right now,” Capps said. “There’s no way I could play catch today. I don’t know if I’ll be able to play catch tomorrow. Who knows? We’ve done a good job of icing it and keep the inflammation down.”

Capps said the ball hit in “pretty much” the same spot where he had a bone bruise, which put him on the DL earlier this month.

• John Grabow will be at the top of the list of candidates to close games while Capps is out. Sean Burnett finished Monday’s game, as Grabow had already pitched.

“We’ve got some arms down there who, we’re very confident, have the stuff to be able to pitch late in the game,” Russell said. “We’ll see where we’re at in the game and make a decision on who we want out there in the ninth.”

• Russell re-iterated that lefty Paul Maholm is healthy. Maholm is winless in his past six starts and his ERA is up to 4.11. Last night, he allowed seven runs in four innings.

“It’s just one of those things he’s going through,” Russell said. “I’m not worried about it. He works hard and has a good head on his shoulders. He’s going through a little bit of a inconsistent time. He’ll figure it out.”

• Capps’ injury was just the final blow in a long, wild game last night at Wrigley Field.

“It was one of those games where you saw everything,” Russell said. “Home runs, bloop hits, broken-bat hits. Guys getting hit in the back on throws. (Coach Luis) Dorante got hit on the rear end (by a foul ball) while he was in the bullpen. We saw good pitching, a lot of runs, good defense. It was one of those games. At Wrigley Field, I think, there’s been a lot of games like that. No lead is ever safe here.”

Is it fun to manage amid such a circus?

“There’s a lot of things you think about,” Russell said, smiling. “You try to set up a plan of how you’re going to get through it, because you’ve got a lot of innings to cover. Most times — Joe (Kerrigan, pitching coach) and I have talked about this — you should try not to deviate from the plan. When we’ve done that, it’s worked pretty good for us.”

• Lineups for today’s game (updated with Cubs’ info):

PIRATES — 1.Nyjer Morgan lf, 2. Freddy Sanchez 2b, 3. Nate McLouth cf, 5. Craig Monroe rf, 5. Adam LaRoche 1b, 6. Andy LaRoche 3b, 7. Robinzon Diaz c, 8. Jack Wilson ss. 9. Ian Snell (1-5, 4.88) rhp.

CUBS — 1. Alfonso Soriano lf, 2. Ryan Theriot ss, 3. Kosuke Fukudome cf, 4. Milton Bradley rf, 5. Micah Hoffpauir 1b, 6. Mike Fontenot 2b, 7. Koyie Hill c, 8. Ryan Freel 3b, 9. Sean Marshall (2-3, 3.96) lhp