5/27 Postgame notes
Carlos Zambrano has been suspended twice in his career, and will wait for a ruling by Major League Baseball as to whether he’ll have to take another time out. Zambrano appeared to bump home plate umpire Mark Carlson briefly Wednesday as the two argued a close call at home plate in the eighth. Then he hurled the baseball to left center field, threw his glove and took a bat to the Gatorade dispenser in the dugout.
“That was pretty impressive,” Milton Bradley said of Big Z’s antics.
* Ryan Freel appears headed for the disabled list, one day after infielder Aaron Miles was placed on the 15-day DL. Freel strained his left hamstring running the bases in the fourth. If he does have to go on the DL, expect Bobby Scales to return. Scales was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday to make room for Andres Blanco.
* Speaking of Blanco, he apparently has quit switch-hitting. In his first at-bat, Blanco hit right-handed against Pittsburgh’s Zach Duke and grounded out. In his next at-bat, Blanco batted from the left side against the lefty. “It sort of surprised me,” Lou Piniella said. Blanco, now strictly a left-handed hitter, did deliver a RBI double in the eighth, followed by Jake Fox’s RBI double in the 5-2 win.
* Speaking of Fox, Piniella isn’t ready to start him at third even though the Cubs are desperately seeking some offensive help from that spot. Fox will workout with bench coach Alan Trammell at third so he’s not a defensive liability. “We’d love to have his bat in the lineup,” Piniella said of Fox. “Let’s see him over there for a few more days working with Alan and I’ll let Alan make that determination.”
* Besides hitting a tie-breaking homer in the eighth, Reed Johnson also made a great catch of Adam LaRoche’s fly ball to center to end the Pirates seventh. Johnson slammed into the center field wall.
“I knew it was coming up on me pretty quick,” he said, knowing there’s bricks behind the ivy. “I was at a point running back for that ball where I wasn’t running full out. I knew if I was going to hit it, it was going to hurt. I wasn’t running fast enough where I’d do permanent damage to myself. It worked, too. The fans appreciated it as well.”
* Bradley’s triple was his first since Sept. 26, and 15th of his career. Bradley has hit safely in four of his last five games.
* Pitching notes: Angel Guzman now has a 5 1/3 scoreless inning streak. … Kevin Gregg’s save Wednesday marked the first time he was in a save situation since May 10, a span of four outings. … Carlos Zambrano needs five strikeouts to pass Bill Hutchinson for sixth on the team’s all-time strikeout list.
– Carrie Muskat