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Pitcher had to leave game; MRI shows fracture

CHICAGO (ESPN.com news services) -- The image of Mark Prior rolling in pain after
being hit in the elbow by a line drive overshadowed a rare
offensive outburst by the Chicago Cubs.

Prior had to leave the Cubs' 10-3 victory over the Colorado
Rockies on Friday after he was hit in his pitching arm by a line
drive.

Leading off the fourth, Brad Hawpe hit a liner off Prior's right
elbow. The ball caromed toward third, where Aramis Ramirez caught
it for the out. Prior collapsed and writhed in pain on the mound
before being helped off the field by the training staff and taken
to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

X-rays on Prior's elbow were negative, Cubs trainer Mark O'Neal
said, but ESPN learned later Friday an MRI revealed a "slight" fracture. The Cubs will continue to evaluate Prior's injury to determine how much time he will miss.

O'Neal didn't want to speculate on the severity of the injury,
or how much time the ace might miss.

"That's a tough question," O'Neal said. "It's really going to
be determined on how sore he is when he comes in and how much
inflammation he has. We just have to wait until he comes in
tomorrow [Saturday]. There's no way we can tell right now how long this is
going to be."

Prior's injury spoiled a rare offensive splurge by the Cubs.
Neifi Perez drove in four runs with a two-run homer and double to
match a career high, and Derrek Lee hit a pair of solo shots to
take over the National League homer lead with 14.

"I just snuck in a couple of home runs at the end," Lee said.
"I thought Neifi got the big hits."

After knocking in two runs in a four-run fourth, Perez hit a
two-run homer to left off Joe Kennedy in the sixth, giving the Cubs
a 7-1 lead. Lee followed with a solo shot to left-center off
Rockies reliever David Cortes and added another home run in the
eighth.

"Your thoughts are with (Prior)," Lee said. "but you've still
got a game to finish."

Prior was replaced by Todd Wellemeyer (1-0) who pitched 3 2/3
innings of hitless relief. Will Ohman pitched the eighth, allowing
Preston Wilson's two-run homer.

"I'm just glad I could give us three good innings with that
happened," Wellemeyer said. "Everyone kind of stepped up. It
(Prior's injury) woke everyone up."

Corey Patterson had a solo homer in the seventh for the Cubs,
his 10th.

Kennedy (3-5) lasted five-plus innings for Colorado, allowing
seven runs on eight hits and five walks. The four runs in the
fourth were all unearned following a two-out error by third baseman
Garrett Atkins.

Colorado took a 1-0 lead in the second, when Prior walked three.
The Rockies managed to score only one run, however, on Atkins'
sacrifice fly to right

Ramirez's single with one out in the third scored Jerry Hairston
from third to tie it 1-all.

Hawpe smashed Prior's first pitch of the fourth, a fastball, up
the middle and off the right-hander's elbow.

"I hit that ball well," Hawpe said. "I squared that ball up
on the bat.

"It was an unfortunate event," he added. "You never want to
cause injury upon anybody. I went over there to see how he was
doing."

Atkins' error opened the door in the bottom fourth as the Cubs
took a 5-1 lead with four unearned runs. Perez drove in two of the
runs with a double and Lee followed with a run-scoring single.

"He made a boot," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "Nobody
feels worse after you make a boot."

Game notes
Hurdle rejoined the team Friday after missing six games. He
had returned to Denver last Saturday after his 2-year-old daughter,
Madison was hospitalized due to seizures related to Prader-Willi
Syndrome, a genetic disorder. She was released Wednesday. ...
Rockies INF Clint Barmes, leading the team with a .341 average
didn't start due to a sprained ankle he sustained sliding into
second in the ninth inning on Thursday. ... Colorado INF Eddy
Garabito made his major league debut when he pinch-hit in the
seventh. ... Wellemeyer's single, which started the Cubs four-run
rally in the fourth, was his first major league hit.