Tagged: Carlos Zambrano

2/5 Extra bases

Some former Cubs in the news:

* The Indians have signed Bryan LaHair to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. LaHair, 31, will compete for at-bats as a DH and possible role player off the bench. He has hit .289 against right-handed pitching. LaHair spent last season in Japan.

* Carlos Zambrano gave up three runs on two hits over 5 1/3 innings in Venezuela’s 6-3 win Monday over Mexico in the Caribbean Series. Zambrano, 32, was 1-2 with a 4.93 ERA in 42 innings for Navigantes this winter.

* Catcher Koyie Hill has signed a Minor League contract with the Nationals that includes a Spring Training invite.

As for up and coming Cubs, today, Feb. 5, is Shawon Dunston Jr.’s 21st birthday. The outfielder is one of the Cubs’ top prospects. How time flies.

— Carrie Muskat

7/15 Cubs vs. Marlins

Carlos Zambrano will not start this week when the Cubs play host to the Marlins in a three-game series, starting Tuesday. Here are the pitching matchups:

Tuesday: LHP Travis Wood (4-3, 3.05) vs.RHP Anibal Sanchez (4-6, 4.12)

Wednesday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (6-8, 4.71) vs. RHP Josh Johnson (5-6, 4.28)

Thursday: LHP Paul Maholm (7-6, 4.33) vs. LHP Mark Buehrle (8-8, 3.25)

— Carrie Muskat


5/17 Cubs vs. White Sox

Interleague play and bragging rights in the city are on the line Friday when the Cubs start their home-road, six-game series against the White Sox at Wrigley Field.

* Pitching matchups:

Friday: Philip Humber (1-2, 5.77 ERA) vs. Jeff Samardzija (4-1, 2.89 ERA)

Saturday: John Danks (2-4, 6.46 ERA) vs. Ryan Dempster (0-1, 1.74 ERA)

Sunday: Jake Peavy (4-1, 2.65 ERA) vs. Paul Maholm (4-2, 4.35 ERA)

* Cubs record vs. White Sox: 39-45

At Wrigley Field: 22-20

At Comiskey Park/U.S. Cellular Field: 17-25

Last Cubs three-game sweep: June 20-22, 2008, at Wrigley Field

* Crosstown series batting leaders (minimum 60 at-bats):

Average: Mark Grace, .350

Hits: Sammy Sosa, 45

Home runs: Aramis Ramirez, 13

RBIs: Sosa, 39

Pitching leaders (minimum 25 innings pitched)

ERA: Mark Prior, 2.88

Wins: Carlos Zambrano, six

Saves: Ryan Dempster, Bob Howry & Carlos Marmol, three each

Strikeouts: Zambrano, 71

* A total of 168 players have appeared in at least one Major League game for both the Cubs and White Sox, from David Aardsma to Dutch Zwilling.

* The two teams have made 22 trades, the last coming Nov. 16, 2006, when Neal Cotts was acquired from the White Sox in exchange for David Aardsma and Carlos Vasquez

* Sixteen players have seen action for both the Cubs and White Sox in the same season, the last being Josh Paul in 2003

* Steve Renko (1977) and Matt Karchner (1998) recorded victories for both teams in the same season. No player has homered for both teams in the same year.

* The only person to ever manage both teams was Johnny Evers, who skippered the Cubs in 1913 and 1921, and the White Sox in 1924

* White Sox manager Robin Ventura has a .286 average in three games, going 4-for-14

— Carrie Muskat

4/17 Zambrano: “I know I made mistakes”

Carlos Zambrano is with a new team in a dazzling new ballpark and looking forward to a fresh start.

“Coming from one of the oldest ballparks to the newest ballpark in baseball, it’s a big difference,” the former Cubs pitcher said Tuesday in the clubhouse at Marlins Park. “Wrigley, for 10 1/2, it was a place I never ever will forget. Chicago was always great to me and I do really appreciate all the attention and the criticism, too. It made me get better. It really was a great place for me and [it was] my house for 10 1/2 years. Nothing compares to Wrigley. I played there, the atmosphere of baseball, the passion of the fans is something you don’t see in any other ballpark.”

The right-hander, who was traded Jan. 5 to the Marlins for Chris Volstad, is not scheduled to start against his former team. He’s winless in two starts so far and has walked eight over 12 innings.

“I don’t want to pitch against the Cubs — not yet,” he said.

Zambrano harbored hope that he would stay in Chicago, where he compiled a 125-81 record since 2001. He flew to Chicago from Venezuela to meet with Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, in December to discuss that.

“I had hope,” Zambrano said. “Obviously, like I always say and people know, this is a business. Sometimes they need somebody who fits better than me over there and the people in Miami need me here and that’s why they made the trade and I’m ready to do my job.”

Zambrano had a volatile career with the Cubs that included a no-hitter in September 2008 plus a few temper tantrums and time to undergo anger management therapy.

“I know I made a mistake in Chicago, I made a lot of mistakes, but I have a lot of good memories about the Cubs,” Zambrano said. “I accept my mistakes. I’m responsible. I don’t make excuses. I’m responsible for things that happened in Chicago, nobody else. It wasn’t [former GM] Jim Hendry, it wasn’t the team, it was me, Carlos Zambrano. That’s why I’m here. I wanted to play the whole time with the Cubs because that was the team that brought me up and the team that discovered me and gave me a chance and the opportunity. Things aren’t like that.”

— Carrie Muskat

2/24 Soriano on Z: “We won’t miss him”

Alfonso Soriano will need to spend lots of time getting to know his new teammates on the Cubs, and didn’t appear to miss players like Aramis Ramirez or Carlos Zambrano.

“It feels a little different because those guys have been forever in a Cubs uniform,” Soriano said of the two. “Now I don’t see them and it feels we’re missing something. We have a nice group of people and we have to work with these guys because they have very good talent.”

Ramirez left via free agency and signed a three-year contract with the Brewers, while Zambrano was traded to the Marlins in January.

“I think they made very good moves, trading Z, because I don’t know if he wasn’t happy or what here but the things he did here, nobody was happy,” Soriano said. “I think the team is happy they were able to trade him and I think he’s happy, too, that he’s in Miami now. It worked great for both positions. We won’t miss him.”

It’s time for the Cubs to move on, Soriano said.

“Now, I have to focus on my new team that I have here,” he said. “I can’t think about my old teammates, I want to think about my new teammates and be friendly with my new teammates.”

 — Carrie Muskat

2/19 Garza on Z, Theo & contract

Matt Garza predicts Carlos Zambrano will be in the Cy Young race this year, that the Cubs will be eating better, and his contract situation won’t be a distraction.

* On Big Z: “I’d love to be compared to Zambrano on the field. That guy, I’ll tell you what, he’s going to have one hell of a year, I kid you not. He’s going to go down to Miami and surprise a lot of people. His stuff is so electric and it still bottoms out — every pitch does. He’ll go down there and have a hell of a year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the Cy Young race this year, I kid you not. He’s got that good of stuff. Just playing with Ozzie [Guillen] and being in his own comfort zone, I think he’ll have a hell of a season. I wish nothing but the best for that guy.”

* On changes with Theo Epstein now in charge: “We’ve got better cooks. The food was good last year, but they brought in a complete overhaul of the kitchen. You see changes there, you see a lot more young faces. I’ve only been here for a year and that’s all I’ve seen so far. I’m waiting like everybody else to get out there and see what we’ve got.”

* On Epstein’s Red Sox teams: “[I know] I was able to kick the crap out of them every year, year in, year out for three seasons, that’s what I learned. The ballclubs he built were always good.”

* Garza has agreed to a one-year contract but GM Jed Hoyer hinted they may discuss a multi-year deal. He doesn’t intend on setting a deadline.

“Right now, my agent knows where I’m at and where I want to be at and that’s all there is to it,” Garza said. “When stuff comes across, we’ll all know about it and we’ll talk about it. If something gets done, you guys will know. If nothing gets done, we’ll all know. You won’t hear a peep from me. My job is to get ready April 5 and get to the postseason.”

— Carrie Muskat

2/16 Big Z ready to move on

Carlos Zambrano admits it’s time for a change and says he’s working toward having a good season with the Marlins. Zambrano played in the Marlins Golf Classic on Thursday, his first appearance since he was acquired by trade in January. After spending most of the winter wondering where he would play baseball in 2012, Zambrano says he was happy to learn he was acquired by the Marlins.

“I was very happy when I found out about it,” Zambrano told reporters at the golf event. “I think it was time for a change and obviously this trade benefitted me.”

While Zambrano says he believes he could have returned to Chicago, he admits it was probably a good time for him to move on.

“I don’t think it would have been difficult,” Zambrano said about staying with the Cubs. “I’ve changed my mentality and God has helped me change a lot of things about how I am. It all depended on the work I was going to put in and the mentality I would bring back to them.”

He threw a no-hitter and several tantrums with the Cubs, but Zambrano says he has no ill feelings toward the team.

“I’ve always had a lot of respect for the people of Chicago,” he said. “From the fans to the front office, I want to thank them for treating my like a professional for the past 11 years. All I have for Chicago is gratitude and respect.”

Zambrano is also grateful for what his new manager did for him. Marlins skipper Ozzie Guillen lobbied to get Big Z.

“I’m very thankful that Ozzie pushed to bring me here to the Marlins,” Zambrano said. “He’s a manager that is dynamic. I am a big supporter of his mentality as a manager and I am very happy to have the opportunity to play for him on this team.”

Guillen and Zambrano have known each other for many years. The two are both standout Venezuelan baseball players. They also had success in Chicago over the years. Even though Zambrano was with the Cubs and Guillen was on the South Side with the White Sox, their close proximity helped strengthen their relationship.

“We were both in Chicago and he was always giving me good advice,” Zambrano said. “Every time we would see each other, he always had something good to say to me. He’s a mentor to me. He’s someone that when you play hard for him and do things the right way, he’s someone who will be behind you. He’s someone who knows a lot about baseball and those are people who should be respected. You need to listen to people like that.”

Guillen has already predicted Zambrano will have a good year.

“He will definitely bounce back,” Guillen said. “It’s hard to predict how many wins and losses he’s going to have but I think he’s definitely going to bounce back and show people how good he is.”

Zambrano believes he is on his way to regaining the form that saw him have so much success with the Cubs over most of his 11 seasons.

“I feel real good and strong. My arm feels great and I am throwing well,” Zambrano said. “I hit 97 miles per hour this winter and that’s something that I hadn’t done in a while. I think that is a result of all the hard work that I have put in. I am very happy with the results of the work I have put in and will continue to do it to get ready for this year.”

Zambrano also wants to show he has matured as a person.

“The only thing that I have to prove is that I can keep myself under control,” Zambrano said. “Anything else will take care of itself.”

Said Guillen: “To me, it’s a privilege to manage him. I’ve always wanted to manage him because I saw him pitch a lot in Chicago and I know what he can do. Hopefully he stays healthy because if he does then he is going to be good for us.”

— Carrie Muskat 

2/8 What move surprised you?

The Cubs will have a new third baseman, first baseman, right fielder and most likely three new starting pitchers in 2012. Who knows what the bench will look like. You’ve followed the team all winter. What offseason move surprised you the most? Here are some suggestions to get the discussion started:

* Trading Carlos Zambrano to the Marlins. Big Z met with Theo Epstein and promised he would do whatever it takes to get back in the Cubs’ good graces but apparently the team wasn’t convinced. They will pay a huge chunk of Zambrano’s contract and received Chris Volstad in return.

* Naming Ian Stewart as the starting third baseman. Stewart is coming off a tough season in which he batted .156 with zero homers and six RBIs in 48 games with the Rockies. Aramis Ramirez has driven in seven runs in a game twice.

* Signing David DeJesus as the right fielder. DeJesus, who has a career OBP of .356, is projected as the Cubs’ leadoff man.

* Trading Sean Marshall to the Reds. Marshall was one of the most reliable lefty set-up pitchers in the game. James Russell, John Gaub and Scott Maine will compete for that spot.

* Dealing Tyler Colvin (to the Rockies) and Andrew Cashner (to the Padres). Both were first-round picks by the Cubs.

 — Carrie Muskat

2/7 Numbers game

Tony Campana will switch to No. 1, Anthony Rizzo gets No. 44, and catcher Jason Jaramillo will inherit Carlos Zambrano’s No. 38 this spring in Cubs camp. For those of you curious about uniform numbers for some of the new faces, here are some updates:


Lendy Castillo – #52
Paul Maholm – #28
Andy Sonnanstine – #21
Chris Volstad – #32
Casey Weathers –  #56
Travis Wood – #30

Welington Castillo – #53
Steve Clevenger – #51
Jason Jaramillo – #38

Jeff Baker – #3
Adrian Cardenas – TBD
Junior Lake – #73
Anthony Rizzo – #44
Ian Stewart – #2
Josh Vitters – #61

Tony Campana – #1
David DeJesus – #9
Dave Sappelt – #17
Matt Szczur – #72

— Carrie Muskat