Posted on: July 5, 2010 1:17 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 3:50 pm

Stubbs, Colvin deliver fireworks on July 4

Drew Stubbs There were plenty of fireworks during the Reds-Cubs game on Sunday -- just not the kind you're thinking.

Drew Stubbs and Tyler Colvin both have quite a few things in common: both are young, play the outfield for a NL Central team and are fighting to get extensive playing time.

They can also add hitting multiple home runs in a game as something in common. Stubbs hammered three home runs to pace the Reds to a 14-3 rout over the Cubs, driving in five. That gives him 11 homers on the season. Along with 16 steals, Stubbs is performing to a .240/.313/.417 line in 305 plate appearances. He's generally the starting center fielder for Cincy but due to his struggles, has been riding the pine a bit more frequently.

Safe to say he won't be doing that anytime soon.

Colvin has more trouble fighting his way into the lineup but has amassed 176 plate appearances, knocking 12 dingers for an impressive .568 slugging percentage (.278 batting average, .320 OBP).

As the Cubs continue to flounder, Colvin will get more playing time at the expense of Kosuke Fukudome, as Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd are both producing.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 4, 2010 11:08 am
Edited on: July 4, 2010 11:13 am

Report: Mets intrigued by Lilly

Ted Lilly The Mets believe that the Cubs are open to trading Ted Lilly, reports Newsday 's Ken Davidoff. The fact that New York believes GM Jim Hendry would trade Lilly is a clear barometer that the left-hander is on the Mets' radar.

While Lilly would be a nice addition to New York's rotation, this report flies contrary to recent reports that New York was seeking a top-tier starter along the lines of Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt and not middle-of-the-rotation candidates like Jake Westbrook and Kevin Millwood,

Lilly, 34, could represent a happy medium: someone pitching like a frontline ace who isn't viewed as such. In his fourth year with the Cubs, Lilly has posted a 3.12 ERA in 13 starts for the Cubs and has a career 3.76 ERA in the NL over five seasons. In the American League, he has a 4.52 ERA over seven seasons with most of his AL career coming with the Yankees and Blue Jays (with a brief Athletics stay).

Lilly also posted a low ERA last season as well, pitching 177 innings of a 3.10 ERA. He's missed parts of the last two seasons with injuries but has proven he can crack the 200-inning barrier as he did twice from 2007-08. Lilly would represent a significant upgrade in the rotation from the likes of Hisanori Takahashi -- even as the Japanese import impresses.

The Mets are trying to hold onto their most prized prospects, chief among them Ike Davis, Jonathon Niese and Jenrry Mejia, which is limiting their suitors.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Tags: Cubs, Mets, Ted Lilly
Posted on: July 3, 2010 1:59 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2010 7:47 pm

Cubs silence their own bats

Alfonso Soriano Practice makes perfect? Maybe not. Maybe practice makes Cubs. And that's not good.

Chicago manager Lou Piniella told the Chicago Tribune 's Dave van Dyck that "sometimes less is more" before he cancelled batting practice and closed the Cubs' outfield hitting area before Saturday's game with the Reds.

The Cubs have scored three or fewer runs in 11 of their last 13 games, including five shutouts.

It doesn't help that the team is facing one of the National League's hottest pitchers, Johnny Cueto on Saturday, either. Cueto is 8-2 with a 3.74 ERA and entered the game having given up just 11 hits and one earned run in his last three starts, good for a 1-1 record and a 0.71 ERA.

UPDATE: Well, no real shocker here, but it looks like Piniella knows more about his team -- and baseball -- than I do. The Cubs have hits in each of the first five innings against Cueto, including leadoff hits in four of those innings. As of the bottom of the fifth, though, that hasn't led to any runs. The Cubs now have seven hits, including a leadoff double by Marlon Byrd in the fifth, while Randy Wells has held the NL's leading offense hitless through five.

UPDATE 2: The Cubs banged out 10 hits on Saturday in their 3-1 victory over the Reds, so Piniella's plan worked, although not perfectly. Sure, it's picking nits when you win, but Chicago left 17 runners on base. The National League record for most men left on base in a nine-inning game is 18, done most recently by Atlanta on June 23, 1986. The Yankees left 20 on base on September 21, 1956.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 30, 2010 2:53 pm

Teammates support Zambrano

Two Cubs players told WGN-TV in Chicago that they still support Carlos Zambrano, even after his latest embarrassing temper-tantrum.

The Chicago Tribune , which owns WGN, has the quotes from Ted Lilly and Marlon Byrd about their teammate.

"I talked to Carlos (Monday) night and he wants to be back out here and he wants to help the team, and I believe that he's going to do that," Ted Lilly told WGN-Ch. 9. "So for me it was encouraging to talk to him and hear what he had to say. I'm pretty confident that he'll be back as soon as he can and he'll help us win games."

Marlon Byrd told WGN that Zambrano's tantrum did not turn out the way it was intended.

"We know what he was trying to do," Byrd said. "It came across wrong. This is something you have to move past. At the same time, it's weird, this can bring a team together, some kind of adversity. Everything is going to be fine. Everybody know what kind of guy Carlos is, and we accept him."

Does Zambrano owe the Cubs players an apology?

"More than anything, we know without having him have to say anything that it was one of those things we've all done," Lilly said.
Well, at least Lilly, who punched his Toronto manager, John Gibbons, in the face after tangling near the Blue Jays' dugout during a game on Aug. 21, 2006. Gibbons' nose was apparently bloodied by Lilly, though both claimed afterward no punches were thrown.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 30, 2010 1:33 am
Edited on: June 30, 2010 1:35 am

Report: Zambrano asked Silva to blow up

Carlos Zambrano Could Carlos Zambrano's explosion on Friday have been part of a master plan?

Kevin Millar, currently an analyst on the MLB Network, says that Zambrano told him on the phone that the original plan had been for fellow pitcher Carlos Silva to blow up in the dugout in an attempt to spark the team.

"He told me a week before that he wanted to get Carlos Silva to do something to the team because he's doing well and Carlos Zambrano said that he knew that he wasn't the right guy to do this at this time because of his struggles," Millar said on MLB Tonight according to the Chicago Tribune . "I said: 'You can't say the team's playing like girls. … You can't say that this whole team that's not clicking for some reason' or 'We're not playing hard' because he's a big part of that problem."

Unfortunately, Z didn't heed his advice and did just that Friday, calling out some of his teammates and using derogatory terms.

Silva couldn't recall any conversation with Zambrano but did say that the volatile right-hander asked Silva "to get mad once." That occurred a few weeks ago when the Cubs had just lost to Houston and had to travel to Pittsburgh for a makeup game. But that never sounded palatable to Silva.

"I would never do anything like that to embarrass the team," he said.

Zambrano is currently being evaluated by doctors to determine the next step in addressing Zambrano's issues.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 29, 2010 12:43 am

Zambrano claims he was just misunderstood

Embattled Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano spoke out Monday, sort of, as former teammate Kevin Millar revealed Zambrano's comments during a phone call between the players on Saturday night.

Millar, now an analyst for MLB Network, told the Chicago Tribune that Zambrano claims he was simply trying to fire up the team when he exploded in the dugout after a bad first inning Friday. Zambrano, placed on the restricted list and sent for anger management, says he didn't mean the comments to be directed toward first baseman Derrek Lee, who engaged Zambrano in an angry exchange.

Apparently Zambrano had been lobbying his buddy Carlos Silva to yell at the team, since Silva is having a good season and, according to sports protocol, therefore has more leeway to yell at people. But finally Zambrano decided to do it himself.

The statement in the Tribune story that most rings true is in the words of Millar:

"But see, this is the problem: we give huge contracts to players and now we think 'Oh, that equals leadership,' or, 'If a guy's doing well, that equals leadership.' That's not the case. You create these monsters through organizations and Carlos Zambrano's Carlos Zambrano."

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 28, 2010 11:04 pm

Pirates lose another second baseman

Bobby Crosby Being the Pirates' second baseman is dangerous business these days.

Bobby Crosby was removed from Monday's game against the Cubs with concussion-like symptoms after colliding with outfielder Lastings Milledge.

On Friday, Neil Walker collided with Ryan Church and suffered a concussion. He has been sent back to Pittsburgh for more tests.

The Pirates released their Opening Day second baseman, Akinori Iwamura, two weeks ago. Andy LaRoche has been transitioning from third to second but is a work in progress. The only player to start at second for the Pirates this season other than Iwamura, Walker and Crosby is Delwyn Young, who has started there three times and is batting .221.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 28, 2010 5:22 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2010 7:16 pm

Zambrano suspension could be over soon

An unnamed Major League Baseball executive told the Chicago Tribune that pitcher Carlos Zambrano probably won't face a long-term suspension and will likely be back in uniform -- assuming the Cubs don't trade or release him -- in a couple of days.

"Probably a four- or five-game suspension would suffice," the executive said. "As much attention as the incident received in Chicago, you really can't justify a suspension of more than that for acting like a goof and arguing with a teammate.
Zambrano has already sat out two games. It is not believed the Cubs will try to put Zambrano on the restricted list, in which case they would not have to pay him. That would surely be met by a challenge from the players' association.

Manager Lou Piniella has said Zambrano will work out of the bullpen upon his return.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: The Cubs will place Zambrano on the restricted list after all.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com