Posted on: February 22, 2012 5:05 pm
JUPITER, Fla. -- Carlos Zambrano kept coming back to the same thing.
"I'm just happy to be here," Zambrano said, on his first day of work with the Marlins. "I'm just happy."
Zambrano's first day of spring was certainly less eventful than it would have been had he remained with the Cubs, where he would have had to answer to teammates and to others about his troubled Cubs career, including his outburst and "retirement" last August. With the January trade that sent Zambrano to the Marlins, the Cubs became part of his past, although not a forgotten part.
"I do apologize for all the things, but in my head and in my heart, I wanted to do good," Zambrano said. "They're good fans there. They deserve a championship in Chicago."
Zambrano said he's happy with the Marlins because Miami is closer to his native Venezuela, and because of the city's large Latin American population.
He's also close with manager Ozzie Guillen.
"If there was anybody who could keep him on the right track, I think it would be Ozzie," new teammate Mark Buehrle said Wednesday.
For now, there's no work to do.
For now, Zambrano is just happy to be here.
Posted on: June 10, 2011 10:36 am
Edited on: June 10, 2011 10:49 am
CC Sabathia won't pitch against the Indians this weekend, so the Yankees left-hander will have plenty of time to go see his ex-teammates.
If he can find any.
It hasn't even been three years since the July 2008 trade that sent Sabathia from Cleveland to Milwaukee to start off the latest Indians rebuilding project. But the lineup from Sabathia's final Cleveland start includes just two players (Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo) who are still with the Indians now.
The current lineup, which has the Indians (barely) holding on to first place in the American League Central, features two players (Michael Brantley and Matt LaPorta) who were acquired in the Sabathia trade, another (Carlos Santana) who was acquired in the Casey Blake trade three weeks later, and another who (Asdrubal Cabrera) was acquired in a deal two years earlier when the Indians traded the guy who just became the Marlins hitting coach (Eduardo Perez).
"They seem to be able to trade everyone and start over," Sabathia said this week. "That's what they did when they traded for Cliff [Lee] and Grady [Sizemore]."
He's right. Sabathia was 21 years old and in his second year with the Indians when Cleveland traded Bartolo Colon to Montreal for Lee, Sizemore, Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens. That trade built the Indians team that lost to the Red Sox in the 2007 American League Championship Series.
Four years later, Colon is Sabathia's teammate in New York, and the Indians have rebuilt again, with the trades of Sabathia, Lee, Blake and Victor Martinez playing big parts in it. And while it's hard to believe they can hang on to win the AL Central -- their lead over the fast-charging Tigers is down to one game, heading into the weekend -- the young players acquired in those deals have inspired renewed hope for the future.
One part-time Indians fan now pitching for the Yankees is inspired.
"I was excited [earlier this year], and I am excited," Sabathia said. "It's a really good team."
It's an Indians team that needs a few wins, after a 4-11 stretch that has seen Cleveland's division lead drop from seven games down to one.
Sabathia wouldn't go so far as hoping the Indians win this weekend, but after they leave town Monday, you can bet he'll be pulling for them again -- even if all his old friends are gone.
On to 3 to Watch:
1. Carlos Zambrano created a stir last week, when he said the Cubs were "playing like a Triple-A team." But scouts who have watched the Cubs recently say Zambrano had truth as his defense. The Cubs have been awful of late, even if Zambrano (2.03 ERA over his last four starts) hasn't. Zambrano has actually outpitched Roy Halladay (3.41) in that span, but Halladay's Phillies won all four of his start, while Zambrano's Cubs won only two of his. Now they meet, in Cubs at Phillies, Friday night (7:05 ET) at Citizens Bank Park.
2. You think Sabathia has a hard time finding ex-teammates who are still in Cleveland? How about Colon? The last time he pitched for the Indians, his manager was Charlie Manuel, his closer was Bob Wickman, and the Indians lineup featured Ellis Burks, Jim Thome and Travis Fryman. Oh, and Frank Robinson was in the other dugout, managing the Expos. Colon has faced the Indians eight times since (going 4-3 with a no-decision), and will again in Indians at Yankees, Saturday afternoon (1:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium.
3. If Cardinals-Cubs is the old rivalry in the National League Central, and Cardinals-Reds is the "new rivalry," then what do we call Cardinals-Brewers? They're in first and second place, respectively, they have some history, and they meet this weekend. The matchups even work out, with Zack Greinke facing Chris Carpenter in Cardinals at Brewers, Saturday night (7:10 ET) at Miller Park. Greinke has some history with the Cardinals, too. He faced them six times in the I-70 interleague rivalry with the Royals, and hasn't lost to them in four appearances since 2005.
Posted on: August 13, 2010 10:50 am
Edited on: August 13, 2010 10:55 am
In San Francisco, they hate the Dodgers. It's that simple. They hate Dodger Blue. They hate Tommy Lasorda.
In San Diego, they hate the Dodgers. No doubt about it. There's nothing they love to chant more than "Beat L.A.!"
But the Dodgers aren't going to be at AT&T Park this weekend. The Padres are.
The Dodgers aren't leading the Giants by 2 1/2 games in the National League West. The Padres are.
Who knows if Giants-Padres hatred is even possible. Maybe this is the weekend we find out.
Thank you, Jonathan Sanchez.
Sanchez is no Brandon Phillips, but he did "guarantee" that the Giants will sweep the Padres in these three games, and then go on to make the playoffs.
"We're going to play San Diego now and we're going to beat them three times," he said, after losing his last start, Sunday in Atlanta. "If we get to first place, we're not going to look back."
No, it's not exactly "little bitches" material. And he's no Joe Namath.
But it's better than everyone getting together and laughing about the Dodgers being nine games out.
Or is it?
On to 3 to watch:
1. The Padres know how good Sanchez can be, because he no-hit them last year. He hasn't beaten them in four meetings since, but two of those were 1-0 losses to Mat Latos earlier this season. Sanchez may be happy to know that he won't be facing Latos in Padres at Giants, Friday night (10:15 ET) at AT&T Park . Clayton Richard, who has a 6.69 ERA over his last seven starts, will open the series for the Padres, with Latos facing Madison Bumgarner on Saturday, and Wade LeBlanc opposing Tim Lincecum on Sunday.
2. Now this is a rivalry, Cubs and Cardinals. Except that the Cardinals just got done fighting with the Reds, and the Cubs aren't a factor in the National League Central. And Carlos Zambrano, who starts in Cubs at Cardinals, Saturday afternoon (4:10 ET) at Busch Stadium , has done a lot more to anger Cubs fans than he has to upset Cardinal fans. Chris Carpenter, who played a big part in stirring up the Cardinals-Reds feelings, starts for St. Louis.
3. This is not a rivalry, Orioles and Rays. But with the O's seemingly revived under Buck Showalter, it'll be interesting to see whether they have any effect on the American League East race. Including this weekend, the Orioles have nine games remaining with Tampa Bay, six games left with the Red Sox, and six left with the Yankees. We may know more by the time 24-year-old Jake Arrieta faces 23-year-old Jeremy Hellickson, in Orioles at Rays, Sunday afternoon (1:40 ET) at Tropicana Field .
Posted on: April 21, 2010 4:58 pm
Edited on: April 21, 2010 7:59 pm
Zambrano, who last pitched in relief in 2002, becomes the primary setup man in front of closer Carlos Marmol. Ted Lilly returns from the disabled list this weekend to join the Cubs rotation. Zambrano, who made his fourth start of the year Tuesday night against the Mets, will be available in relief beginning Friday night in Milwaukee.The bullpen has been a major problem for the Cubs, who are off to a 5-9 start and have already fallen four games behind the Cardinals in the National League Central. The Cubs have allowed 16 eighth-inning runs, the most in the major leagues.
"This makes all the sense in the world," said manager Lou Piniella, who called Zambrano into his office this afternoon to tell him of the move.
Actually, it was more to ask Zambrano, because Piniella said he wouldn't have made the move if Zambrano hadn't been willing to do it. Piniella told Zambrano that the move was temporary, designed to give general manager Jim Hendry more time to find an adequate setup man in a trade.
"I said whatever you want me to do, I'm here for the team," Zambrano said. "I don't like to be a reliever, but this team needs someone to step up. I need to help this team. . . . We've already lost three or four games in the eighth inning. I'm not saying I'll be Superman, that I'll be the best setup man in the big leagues. But I think I can be good. I think I can be great."
Zambrano is making $17.875 million this year. He allowed eight runs to the Braves in 1 1/3 innings on opening day, but has pitched well in three starts since. Piniella explained that the move wasn't made because of how Zambrano has done as a starter, but rather because he thinks Zambrano is the best solution to the Cubs' bullpen problems.
Zambrano came to the big leagues as a reliever, but he hasn't pitched out of the bullpen since 2002.
Posted on: April 5, 2010 5:04 pm
We told you the Cubs need better years from Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto.
Well, we're telling you now that none of it will matter if Carlos Zambrano is as bad as he was today. Or even half as bad as he was today.
How bad was he?
Given a three-run lead before he took the mound, Zambrano couldn't hold it through the first inning. He didn't last through the second inning.
He became just the second Cubs opening day starter in at least the last 90 years to fail to get five outs. The other was Larry Jackson, who was pulled in the first inning against the Cardinals in 1965. Jackson allowed five runs, three of them earned, and we're going to guess it was a tough day to pitch at Wrigley that day -- Bob Gibson started for the Cardinals, and he didn't make it out of the fourth inning.
The last opening day starter for any big-league team to fail to record five outs was Jose Contreras of the White Sox, in 2007 against the Indians.
The only other Cubs opening day starters to allow at least eight runs? Rick Sutcliffe, in 1988 against the Braves, and Kevin Tapani, in 1998 against the Marlins.
Posted on: February 13, 2009 8:57 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2009 9:03 pm
PHOENIX -- Joe Torre won't hide it.
The Dodger manager admits that he badly wants to see the team get Manny Ramirez signed. Torre said today that he phoned Ramirez on Tuesday, and then he repeated what he has said all along.
"We're all in agreement that we want him," Torre said.
When someone tried to suggest that the Dodgers could have spread the Manny money around and signed several players, Torre didn't agree.
"His presence made the guys around him better," Torre said. "Manny showed the kids. He can't teach them his ability, but he can show them how to prepare for a game."
Torre said he would be "very surprised" if Ramirez doesn't eventually sign with the Dodgers. But he also said that feeling was based more on what he wants to see done than on anything he heard from Ramirez, or from general manager Ned Colletti or owner Frank McCourt.
Other notes from reporting day visits to the Cubs and Dodgers:
-- Torre said of Alex Rodriguez's stats and records: "Now they're going to be tainted. People don't forget." Torre said he hasn't spoken with Rodriguez, but he said Rodriguez will have a tough time with the reaction to his admission of steroid use. "I think it's going to be very difficult. Alex has a knack to block things out when he's on the field. (But) it's going to be very, very difficult, especially early on."
-- Carlos Zambrano said that he won't play for Venezuela in the WBC. He also said that he has been taking drops for an eye infection, and that he still may have Lasik surgery this spring. Zambrano said he's been told that his right eyeball "is shaped like a football, rather than like a baseball."
-- Carlos Marmol does plan to play in the WBC, but he doesn't see any problem with it. "I'd be pitching in spring training anyway. The innings I'd pitch in spring training would be the same innings I'll pitch there."
-- Apparently everyone in baseball is going to be asked this spring whether the other 103 names of players who tested positive for steroids in 2003 (other than Alex Rodriguez, that is) should be made public. Tough question, because on the one hand the players were guaranteed that the tests were anonymous, but on the other the existence of the list (and the possibility that it will eventually become public) is helping to keep the steroid issue alive. Torre's perspective: "Do we need more names to know we have a problem? At this point I think we've heard enough names."
-- Torre still says he stands by everything that's in his book, but he said today that he didn't feel comfortable changing any of the parts of the book that were written by co-author Tom Verducci. I've now read the whole book, and the strangest thing about it is how Torre seems to disappear from it for pages at a time, while Verducci discusses steroids, Moneyball, etc.
Posted on: September 4, 2008 11:10 am
The Cubs are nine games up on a playoff spot with 22 games to play. Even with their tough schedule (6 vs. Milwaukee, 4 vs. Mets, 3 at Houston), they should get to October even if their rotation is headed by Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly, rather than Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden.
But that's not really the point, is it?
If this 100-year drought is going to end, the Cubs don't just have to get to October. They've been to the playoffs before, as recently as last year.
No, the scary part for the Cubs is that they don't seem to know for sure whether Zambrano will pitch again this year. And while they've penciled in Harden for a start next week against the Cardinals, any hint that he's hurt (he'll go at least 11 days between starts because of "discomfort") brings up all of his awful history with injuries.
Should the Cubs be worried? You bet.
Posted on: August 8, 2008 6:47 pm
Luis Sojo said the other day that Venezuela is working out the problems that have led most of its top players to threaten to skip the next World Baseball Classic.
Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez, two of the Venezuelan team's top players, repeated today that they don't plan to play unless there are major changes in the leadership of the Venezuelan team. Guillen and Ordonez have spoken to Johan Santana, Carlos Zambrano, Miguel Cabrera and other top Venezuelan players, and they believe those players feel the same way they do.
"It's not that we want to boycott the tournament," Ordonez said. "But we want things done right. The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, they have big leaguers (running their teams). They know how to treat big leaguers. We just want the same thing."
While Sojo said the problems are being worked on, Sojo himself seems to be part of the problem. He managed Venezuela in the first WBC, and he is to manage the Venezuelan team again next spring.