Carlos Zambrano talked late this afternoon for the first time since he made his 2010 bullpen debut Saturday in Milwaukee. Although he said he feels good and will do anything for the team, he said he still thinks of himself as a starting pitcher.
“I’m not ‘happy’ happy about this decision, but I feel good,” he said. “I feel good to help my team and to do everything to help us solve whatever the problem is.”
The "problem" was the Cubs' late-inning bullpen situation. The Cubs brass, including GM Jim Hendry and manager Lou Piniella are putting no timetable on Big Z’s time in the pen, but Z reiterated that he believes the move is temporary.
“Yeah,” he said. “That was what Lou said. That is what we agreed. They are looking for a setup man. This is what they told me. I don’t think I will be too long in this role. I will be there to when they need me.”
Zambrano did inject a note of humor into the proceedings when asked if this was easier to handle for the new, “more mature” Carlos.
“What do you think?” he said. “You guys have the answer. A different Carlos wouldn’t be smiling right now. He would be (ticked) off or disagreeing with the manager. I feel good. I’m happy with the way things are right now.”
He said the biggest difference between being a starter and a reliever was the preparation time and in recovery time from pitching.
For his part, Hendry said there was no “mystery” or hidden agenda in moving Z to the pen. In other words, the Cubs are not doing this to tick him off so they can get him to waive his no-trade clause. So we can put the conspiracy theories to rest.
Here is the lineup against Nats lefty John Lannan:
Lou said he wants to get Xavier Nady a start against a right-handed pitcher instead of just lefties so that Nady doesn’t start “pulling off” the ball by facing a pitcher from only side of the plate.
On a lighter note, Lou was asked about the “BP Crosstown Cup” the Cubs and White Sox will play for in their interleague series this year. Lou chose his words carefully.
“Well, it’s…it’s something for the fans,” Lou said. “You know, if you win the series or you win the sixth game of the series and tie it, you keep the cup. You’d rather win a World Series trophy. There’s nothing wrong…it’s something to play for and feel good about if you do win it.”
Leave it to the marketing types to think up something like this. Of course, the sponsorship money talks most loudly.
The only positive I can see is if it gets people to stop it the “Crosstown Classic,” which was the name of an old exhibition game. But if there’s anything that lends itself to being made fun of, it’s this.