June 2010

6/26 Dinner with Carlos

Apparently, Carlos Zambrano and Ozzie Guillen had a good time Friday night at dinner. The two met downtown Chicago and Guillen tweeted this:

“Having dinner whit carlos and his family. Great dinner a lot of fun and talk”

We’ll ignore the spelling and grammatical errors. Wonder if Big Z and Guillen discussed Zambrano’s meltdown in the dugout at U.S. Cellular Field.

— Carrie Muskat

6/25 Guillen on Z: "He's a different cat"

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was to have dinner with Carlos Zambrano Friday night.

“He’s got a lot of time to make the reservation,” Guillen said after Zambrano was sent home from the Cubs’ game for his embarrassing display in the dugout.

“A lot of people don’t know Carlos,” Guillen said. “To me, Carlos is a great guy. When he puts his uniform on he like to compete, likes to do well. Off the field he’s a different cat.”

If they get together, would Guillen say anything to Zambrano about the incident in the dugout on Friday?

“Nothing,” Guillen said. “That’s part of the game. That’s the way he is. If I see him, that’s the way he is and you’re not going to change that. Now he has to come back to the team and talk to his teammates I guess. It’s not an easy situation, but he will be all right.”

Zambrano got into a shouting match in the dugout with teammate Derrek Lee after the first inning on Friday, upset that Lee did not make a play on Juan Pierre’s ball that went for a double. Big Z was sent home and suspended indefinitely by GM Jim Hendry.

— Carrie Muskat

6/25 Zambrano suspended indefinitely

Carlos Zambrano was suspended indefinitely after throwing a tantrum in the dugout, apparently upset over his teammates’ lack of effort on defensive plays behind him.

“His conduct was not acceptable,” GM Jim Hendry said. “His actions toward his teammates and staff were not acceptable. He will not be at the ballpark [Saturday]. We’ll play with 24 [players]. … From my point of view, we’ll play with 24 before we tolerate that kind of behavior.”

Hendry said there’s no timetable for the suspension because both Major League Baseball and the Players Association have to investigate the incident. Zambrano will not be at U.S. Celluar Field on Saturday for the second game of the Interleague series. When a player is suspended, the team is not allowed to replace that player on the 25-man roster during the pending investigation.

“It was unacceptable behavior is what it was,” Lou Piniella said. “He was upset that some of our players didn’t dive for those balls. A few of those balls were hit really hard and one of those balls was in the seats with two strikes.

“Regardless, he was ranting and raving and out of control,” Piniella said. “We just couldn’t tolerate that. We told him to go back in [to the clubhouse].”

Before exiting, Zambrano threw a cooler and some cups, drawing cheers from the fans who could see into the Cubs dugout. Piniella told Zambrano to go home and Hendry talked to the pitcher on the phone, not face to face. The conversation was short and Zambrano did not apologize for his behavior.

“There wasn’t time for apologies,” Hendry said.

— Carrie Muskat

6/25 Zambrano's early exit

Carlos Zambrano has said he’s more mature, that he no longer will have emotional outbursts. But on Friday, he was pulled from the game after he engaged in a shouting match in the dugout with teammate Derrek Lee after the first inning.

Zambrano gave up a double to the White Sox’s Juan Pierre to open the first, the ball scooting past Lee down the line. One out later, Alex Rios doubled to drive in Pierre, Paul Konerko singled and Carlos Quentin homered to go ahead 4-0.

Zambrano struck out Mark Kotsay and got A.J. Pierzynski to ground out. But when the Cubs right-hander headed back to the dugout, he was screaming and walked past Lee, then the two started yelling at each other. Manager Lou Piniella stepped in between the two players and catcher Geovany Soto guided Zambrano away.

Zambrano then drew cheers from the fans behind the White Sox dugout as he threw some cups in the dugout. He stayed on the bench but was then lifted for lefty Tom Gorzelanny.

This isn’t the first outburst by Zambrano, who also got into a fight with catcher Michael Barrett at Wrigley Field in 2007. However, Lee is one of the most mild-mannered players in the game. The first baseman also misplayed a ball Thursday in the seventh inning that led to the Mariners’ tying run.

This was Zambrano’s fifth start since being reinstated to the rotation. The right-hander  gave up four runs on four hits on 21 pitches against the White Sox in one inning, his shortest start ever. His previous low was Opening Day this year when he lasted just 1 1/3 innings against the Atlanta Braves, giving up eight runs on six hits.

Some of the Cubs could be guilty of playing on little sleep because they had a 13-inning game Thursday in Seattle. But Zambrano had flown ahead to make sure he got enough rest.

— Carrie Muskat

6/25 Hendry: We need to be consistent

GM Jim Hendry, who spent this past week watching the Triple-A Iowa team, said he’s not going to label the Cubs as buyers or sellers heading into the July 31 trading deadline.

“That doesn’t apply to us,” Hendry said Friday. “We’ll analyze where we’re going now this year and keep in mind what we’re going to try to do in the future. We certainly have enough of a core group of young people in the system that they’ll be here next year and another wave will be coming from Double-A and Triple-A soon.

“If we find ourselves out of the race — which we’re still not thinking that’s a done deal — if we do some things in July, we’d always have an eye to the future.”

The one thing lacking? Consistency.

“We’re all just waiting for our club to try to play in consistent fashion,” Hendry said. “A few weeks ago, everybody was ready to write both teams off. It’s a credit to the White Sox for doing a job of getting back in the thick of it and on a huge roll.

“I don’t focus on dates or deadlines or buyers and sellers. We need to focus on us putting a run of our own together now and play better baseball.”

— Carrie Muskat

6/25 Lou & Stone make up

Lou Piniella and Steve Stone made peace on Friday. The Cubs manager and White Sox broadcaster exchanged jabs during the last Cubs-White Sox Interleague matchup June 11-13 at Wrigley Field. Piniella joked Friday that the two “closed doors and threw a few jabs.”

Actually, they talked it out and have agreed to disagree.

“Everything is fine,” Piniella said. “I’ve known Steve a long time. Everybody doesn’t agree with what other people say at times. We talked it out, shook hands and it’s all behind us.”

On June 11, Piniella lashed out at Stone who had been critical of the way the Cubs were handling outfielder Tyler Colvin. Stone had said the rookie outfielder should be playing every day and that Piniella could not handle young players.

“The whole thing was basically I know what I’m doing with young kids,” Piniella said Friday. “We talked about the situation — it’s over with. I don’t have any problem with Steve or anybody else. I just want to do my job the best I can and win baseball games with the Chicago Cubs and nothing more and nothing less.”

— Carrie Muskat

6/25 Lineup, Ramirez & Castro

Aramis Ramirez was activated from the disabled list and in the lineup Friday for Game 1 of the Cubs’ rematch against the White Sox. Chad Tracy was designated for assignment to make room for Ramirez. Starlin Castro was given Friday off; it’s only the second game he has not started since he was called up May 7. Here’s the lineup vs Jake Peavy:

RF Fukudome

LF Colvin

CF Byrd

1B Lee

3B Ramirez

DH Soriano

SS Fontenot

C Soto

2B Theriot

— Carrie Muskat

6/25 Roster move

The Cubs need to make a roster move Friday to make room for Aramis Ramirez, who was to be activated from the disabled list. The likely candidate appears to be Chad Tracy, who was batting .250 for the season. Tracy has hit safely in four of his eight games since he was recalled prior to the June 9 game. The more interesting question is which Ramirez will show up — the one who has hit .168 in 47 games or the one who hit .425 with runners in scoring position last year and finished with 65 RBIs despite playing in 82 games.

— Carrie Muskat

6/25 Minor matters

Sam Fuld hit a RBI scoring single in the seventh to lift Iowa to a 5-4 win over Omaha on Thursday. Fuld had four hits, including a double. Justin Berg picked up the win in relief, throwing two scoreless innings. Thomas Diamond started and gave up four runs on eight hits over six innings while striking out six.

Nate Samson and Russ Canzler each homered to lead Tennessee to a 2-1 win over Carolina. Jake Muyco picked up the win in relief and David Cales notched his 10th save. The Smokies won their third straight of the second half.

Brett Jackson hit his sixth home run and extended his hitting streak to seven games in Daytona’s 6-1 win over Dunedin. Jackson is batting .423 with seven RBIs during his streak after collecting three hits in the win. Ryan Flaherty had two hits including his second homer. Brooks Raley gave up one run on two hits and four walks over five innings for the win.

Peoria opens the second half on Friday against Cedar Rapids at O’Brien Field.

Boise scored eight runs in the first two innings to beat Salem-Keizer, 10-7. Brandon May hit his second homer and Corey Martin picked up his third save.

Luis Liria struck out seven over four scoreless innings to help Mesa beat the Angels, 5-0.

— Carrie Muskat


6/23 Cubs to honor Santo

On Monday, the Cubs will recognize former player and current broadcaster Ron Santo in honor of his 50 years of service to Major League Baseball. Santo made his MLB debut June 26, 1960, with the Cubs and played 14 seasons as the team’s third baseman. On Monday, the Cubs will have a special pregame ceremony before their game against the Pirates.

Flags honoring his 50 years in baseball will fly from Wrigley Field’s roof starting Monday. To help fans celebrate with Santo, the Cubs are offering a limited allotment of $10 bleacher seats throughout the team’s next homestand against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, Monday through July 4. Fans can purchase these tickets by entering the promo code “SANTO” when purchasing bleacher tickets on Cubs.com.

— Carrie Muskat