The news of the day is that the Cubs are putting Carlos Zambrano on the DL after he had an epidural for his lower-back soreness. They'll activate Kerry Wood off the DL. With the all-star break coming up, they might as well give Z the time he needs to get the back right. It looks likely that Ramon Ortiz will start next Tuesday in Washington. Marlon Byrd could be back and playing this weekend, too.
It'll be a busy day on the blog roll here, I'm sure, but you guys know how to navigate the site if other blogs push us down on the page. Had a chance to meet again with Chicago's Inside Pitch blogger MoneyBoy in the stands during part of batting practice. Always good to talk to the bloggers in person.
As long as we're on Z watch, GM Jim Hendry termed it "almost sad" that certain media people have made a big deal of Z attending the Bandits softball game last night. Part of the deal was Z fulfilling a charitable commitment. Manager Mike Quade also termed it much ado about nothing. Agreed.
"I hope he's OK," Q said. "Was it a charity appearance? Is he bedridden? Did he pitch three innings? So he made an appearance. I certainly didn't expect him to go home and sleep for two weeks and hope it got better...We have people 85 years old who throw out first pitches here and do a great job.
Had a chance to ask Q about batting Castro third, where his splits are significantly less impressive than they are when he hits first or second. For Q, it's all about the approach, which he says is good from Castro in the third spot.
"I haven't noticed anything different," Q said. "He didn't come through (in one spot) yesterday, but I wouldn't be too judgmental this early. I still think he's our best hitter. He's probably in the right spot. I haven't seen anything with him going out of the strike zone."
The Cubs have won consecutive games on walk-off plate appearance for the first time in almost 50 years. It previously happened July 26-27, 1961 against the Cardinals. Bob Will hit a walk-off pinch single July 26 and the next day, he coaxed a bases-loaded walk. The Cubs became the first team since the Expos in 1996 to win back-to-back games on walk-off pinch plate appearances. The Cubs also were officially credited with 9 consecutive no-hit innings out of the pen. It was the longest stretch for the franchise since a 12-inning no-hit bullpen effort on July 6, 1980.
Lots of news and listening to "tape" pregame, so we'll get caught up with the minor leagues tomorrow.