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

13 Comments

What’s going on with Matt Sinatro these days? I’ve noticed that Ivan DeJesus has been the first base coach for at least a couple of games.

Maybe Hendry accidentally traded him for a bag of balls?
Or for Rondell White? Craig Monroe? Sosa?…
All kidding aside I hope he is not seriously ill.

I actually feel more comfortable with Blanco and Scales as infield replacements than Miles or Freel. I bet we get better production at the plate as well. Should be nice to use Fox as a DH in interleague play. I think getting him preped to play at 3rd is the best for now. 3rd is really the best place for him with Reed needing more time in the OF and Hoff needing more time in either OF or First. Guzman almost gave up a homer otherwise he seems to be good every outing, its just that one pitch he misses location on and some goes long with. Z had the right to argue and the ump definately initiated contact but he should have kept his cool.

They talked about the new Gatorade machine at the beginning of the year, and how the players have had to sign a waiver to not damage the new machine. With two players having taken their frustration out on that machine, what will happen to both Dempster and Big Z in regards to that? Will they have to pay to fix it?

If you actually watched the game, you would know that the ump bumped into Zambrano. Day after day we get more incorrect information reading these blogs.

I wouldn’t mind experimenting with Fox at third base however we all know that going into it the chances are not good…but now is the time to take a chance with his limited defensive abilities while Ramirez is out and the offense needs a boost. If Fox’s defense at third is “butcher-like” after a few starts then platooning him at first with Hoffpauir seems to be the best solution to getting them both at bats, increase production and gracefully phase out Lee. Andres Blanco had a good spring and when comparing him to Miles, there was no need for Hendry to waste a spot and money on Miles, same now can be said for Freel vs. Scales. Hendry is in love with “major leaguers”that have “experience” yet look at how much more production the team receives from the “rookies” that were already in place….You got to wonder about why he let Henry Blanco go if he’s willing to pay over-rated, past their prime, aging veterans big money but not an “experienced” major leaguer like Henry Blanco who adequatley filled multiple roles; mentor to Soto (see what’s happened to him), back up catcher, decent pinch hitter but not good enough for Hendry yet Miles and Freel are??? Hmmm….Hendry must not like quality “experienced” players that can fill multiple roles as we sure can use a back-up right fielder, back-up third baseman, STARTING second baseman, fill-in first baseman and emergency shortsop who could drive in runs…hmmm…I wonder if DeRosa would be one of the leaders in RBI on this team?? DUH. DUH. DUH. Somebody wake up Jim Hendry before he trades Hoff, Fox, Vitters and Samarjdia for Peavy the “name player” that will save this team in Hendry’s confounded reality.

Maybe they need to re-think this whole Gatorade machine in the dugout thing. It’s turning into a giant target. They’re not cheap to fix. Yesterday, Big Z probably did
$1000 worth of damage to it. He broke off one of the valves completely, bent the valve right next to it, trashed the front plate that holds all the valves. Not to mention that in the last two days both Z and Dempster trashed the light fixture and the merchandiser cover. In order to replace all of the damaged parts, which are NOT cheap BTW, it’ll take about 3-5 hours of repair time. It would be much faster to just replace the machine. You’re looking at around $4000. It’s becoming a liability.

All right. Here’s what happened with the bumping incident, based on the video replays. The umpire got the call at the plate correct. Zambrano threw a fit. The umpire let Zambrano vent longer and in a more animated manner than many umpire will do these days. That is all in the umpire’s favor.

Zambrano was keeping space between he and the umpire. The umpire then moved forward and initiated contact, arm-to-arm, with Zambrano. Zambrano then pushed back with the part of his arm that the umpire was already touching. That’s when Zambrano was ejected.

It is my opinion that up until the time the umpire initiated physical contact with Zambrano, the umpire did a good job–both of getting the call right and of showing patience with Zambrano’s tirade and actions.

It is also my opinion that if a player should get suspended for making contact with an umpire, an umpire should be suspended for initiating contact with a player, unless the umpire is trying to hold a player back from going after another person. In this case, there was no reason for the umpire to have initiated contact with Zambrano.

However, it is also my opinion that either the National League or Major League baseball will not stand up to the umpires’ union, and therefore it is highly unlikely that the umpire will receive any disciplinary action. It is also likely that Zambrano will receive a suspension of some type.

Grow up Z. How about posting a 20 win season, then run your mouth.

Amen, hartjames1951. I certainly DON’T MIND having Big Baby..I mean Big Z on the staff, but he is only an “ACE” in Jim Hendry’s mind.

Rumor is that the Cubs are looking to re-aquire Michael Barrett just to sit in the dugout so the players have something to beat on instead of the gatorade machine!

gpalbert — I think Kasper said Sinatro is in the bullpen subbing for bp coach Lester Strode, who’s sick or something. He’s an ex-catcher, right? So he’s there and DeJesus is on first.

Did anyone hear a radio interview today about the problem with getting Fox playing time is D. Lee at first base? I caught the tail end and thought it might have been Brainiac himself (Hendry) commenting on the log-jam at 1B but am not sure. Even the quality hitters the Cubs draft are better suited to the American League (DH). We can’t win (figurativley) with Hendry in charge.

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