4/20 Big Z's other no-hitter
Carlos Zambrano was not surprised when Ubaldo Jimenez threw a no-hitter on Saturday against the Braves. Big Z had a conversation with Jimenez during batting practice and gave the Rockies pitcher a pep talk.
“He has to believe in what he has,” Zambrano said. “I visualize people when they come to the big leagues and I visualize the type of pitcher they can be. I can see people who can be successful and All-Stars all their lives or people who can be an O.K. player, an O.K. pitcher. I saw him pitching one day and I saw the potential that he has. I like to help people and I went to him and I told him he just needs to trust his stuff.
“The day I saw him pitch he was trying to be an 84, 85 [mph] pitcher,” Zambrano said. “He was trying to be a pitcher who locates. He doesn’t need to do that. I told him to throw hard and with his breaking ball, he has to be on top of his game and he will be successful.”
The conversation was a couple years ago after Jimenez had faced the Cubs.
“After the game, he was in the outfield running, and I caught him and told him, ‘You’re going to be good. You need to trust what you have,’” Zambrano said. “‘Go out there and pitch. Trust your stuff. You have great stuff. You just need to trust it.’”
So, when he heard about Jimenez’s no-hitter, the Cubs pitcher cheered.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Big Z said. “Believe me, that no-hitter won’t be the only one he’ll throw. He will be good. For me, I think he’ll be the first pitcher from Colorado to win the Cy Young. I think he can do it.”
– Carrie Muskat