9/16 Life lessons for Big Z

There’s been a lot of talk and rumors lately about whether Carlos Zambrano will return in 2010 with the Cubs. Zambrano has a no-trade clause in his contract, wants to come back, so that should be the end of the discussion. Lou PIniella was asked Wednesday if he wanted the right-hander back.

“[Tuesday], when I was asked before the ballgame, I said every year I look at this young man and I see a person capable of winning 20 games,” Piniella said. “I said he needs to be totally dedicated to that, work hard, stay focused, and I still feel that way about next year. I like the young man personally. He’s certainly capable of pitching better than he has this year. He needs to stay healthy and part of staying healthy is working as hard as possible toward that goal.”

Sometimes Zambrano’s emotions get in the way.

“[Tuesday], he was sailing along for almost five innings and all of a sudden I think he lost his focus a little bit,” Piniella said. “Instead of pitching, he started just to throw and he lost his location and command and we saw the results. Those things really shouldn’t happen to a talented young man like Carlos. It can happen occasionally to anybody but not with any consistency.”

On Tuesday, Zambrano was cruising, had a 4-0 lead, and two outs in the fifth when he served up a single to Milwaukee pitcher Yovani Gallardo. That started a run as the Brewers went on to score five runs that inning.

What can the Cubs do?

“It’s up to the individual,” Piniella said. “The individual has to take hold of that situation. The pitching coach can train them as much as you can on the sidelines. I’m not talking about Zambrano in particular, I’m talking about anybody. You have to take hold of yourself as an individual and learn from prior mistakes and go forward.”

— Carrie Muskat

1 Comment

Not sure how Z having a no-trade ends the discussion when just the day before he said, “If the Cubs want to trade me, it’s because they don’t like me anymore. I have to move on. What else can I do? Just move on.” That doesn’t sound like a guy who would invoke his no-trade.

Obviously he’s not worth the money he earns and he’s not any better than a #2 starter. But because of that, it would/will be very difficult to move him.

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