9/9 Lou & Big Z
Carlos Zambrano admits that Lou Piniella often looks angry when he’s talking to players, waving his arms and gesturing. But on Wednesday at PNC Park, when Piniella pulled Big Z from the game after he warmed up for the seventh, the two had a discussion, not a fight.
“I think he wanted to stay a little longer,” Piniella said of Zambrano, who had a 4-2 lead at that point over the Pirates, “but like I told him, ‘Let’s just build. Let’s get you stronger and stronger.’ That was the conversation we had on the mound.”
They continued talking in the dugout and the TV cameras caught a rather animated conversation.
“Everybody thought we were arguing,” Zambrano said. “We weren’t. We were talking normally. Every time Lou talks, it seems like he’s mad. The way he moves his hands, it looks like he’s mad.
“The way he talks to the players, he’s very professional,” Zambrano said. “It’s just like when Dusty [Baker] used to be here. Like I said, it’s [Piniella’s] decision and it was good enough for me — six innings. I’m OK with that.”
It may be way more than six next time.
“He told me, ‘Don’t get angry’ in Spanish,” Zambrano said. “I said, ‘I’m not angry, I just want to pitch one more inning.’ He told me next time I will pitch a complete game and he will let me pitch 200 pitches. Complete game, no matter what.”
That’s exactly what Piniella said.
“I told him, ‘Next time, if you want, I won’t warm anybody up and we’ll let you pitch nine innings,'” Piniella said. “I don’t think he liked that one.”
Could Zambrano throw 200 pitches in a game?
“Two hundred pitches is tough to do,” Zambrano siad. “It was kind of funny the way he told me.”
— Carrie Muskat