3/31 Zambrano ready to go

Carlos Zambrano made his final spring start and says he’s ready for the regular season. He tuned up by throwing four innings against the Angels at HoHoKam Park but was outdueled as Jered Weaver struck out nine over five innings in a 11-0 victory.

“He’s thrown the ball well here in camp, he’s nice and healthy, he’s been stretched out really well,” Lou Piniella said of Zambrano. “He’s ready to go. We’re pleased. He’s been working hard on his breaking ball and thrown some changeups and he’s had good life on his fastball.”

Every spring, Zambrano says he’s more mature, he’s going to settle down and keep his emotions in check.

“He tells me he’s changed,” Piniella said.

Does he believe his pitcher?

“To me that means there might be a little slippage at times,” Piniella said. “Let’s not expect perfection. I see a guy who is really focused and has really worked hard and he’s been under good control.”

Zambrano, who is coming off a disappointing 9-7 season, is focused on 200-plus innings. He’s topped that figure five times in his career.

“That’s the goal for this year,” he said. “A month ago, Greg Maddux came to me and told me to put in my mind 215 innings, 220 innings, and that’s what I want to do. I want to throw more than 220 innings and build my arm strength.”

Maddux, an assistant to Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, has been available for Zambrano and all the other pitchers.

“Thank God he’s here and helped not only me but anybody who needs some tips or needs to chat with him,” Zambrano said.

One thing the right-hander wasn’t able to accomplish this spring was to drop another five pounds. He reported about 15 pounds lighter and looking very trim.

“I have to keep myself in better shape during the season,” Zambrano said. “That’s another challenge that I have. I think so far I’ve been mentally prepared and mentally ready to enter the season with a much better weight. Like Larry [Rothschild, pitching coach] told me the other day, ‘You just have to keep yourself in shape and you will be good.'”

– Carrie Muskat

2 Comments

That’s good if Big Z does keep his temper under control. We’ll see. Go Cubs 2010!

Well, I could not wait to see Carlos Zambrano off for this season. I’m truly excited to watch and check his advance skills – than watching Crystal Bowersox on fire with her singing career. Well, it’s been a long time and I wish Zambrano all the lucks, as for his team supporters we cannot hope but to see good moves and skills for the players. Also less injuries and more wins. Good luck guys! And keep all your selves healthy and in shape to attain good plays on the field!

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