7/30 More on Big Z's return
Carlos Zambrano addressed a variety of topics Friday, his first day back on the job.
* There have been rumors that the Cubs are trying to move the right-hander, who was the team’s Opening Day starter.
“To play for the Cubs, believe me, is a privilege,” Zambrano said. “Every player wants to play for the Cubs and be part of the Cubs. Once you play for the Cubs, you don’t want to play for another team. I want to stay but I understand this is a business and whatever the Cubs want me to do — if they think I’m a problem here and they want to move me, it’s sad but I will move.”
Right now, he has to work his way back into the rotation. This will be his second turn in the bullpen, and he made it clear he expects to start again.
“I’m a starting pitcher,” Zambrano said. “I don’t want to be in the bullpen. Obviously, if they decide to put me in the bullpen, I accept it.”
“I see him as a starter, too,” Lou Piniella said. “He’s a starting pitcher. I agree with him 100 percent.”
* As for the incident June 25 at U.S. Cellular, Zambrano said he was trying to fire up the Cubs after falling behind to the White Sox. Three of the White Sox’s runs that inning came on Carlos Quentin’s three-run homer off an 0-2 pitch from Zambrano.
“I mixed some frustration for the first time in my career with trying to pump up my teammates,” Zambrano said. “When I touched the bag and D-Lee threw me the ball, I thought it was the right way to say something. The frustration put some words that I never use and that I never say — I don’t like to say bad words. Sometimes I say them, but I don’t like to curse. That day, it was bad. It was a moment of frustration. I just want to move on and forget about what happened.”
* Zambrano did give an interview to ESPN and said if the Cubs beat writers had shown up in Des Moines on July 22, he would’ve talked to them first. Instead, he did not meet with the media and was escorted out of the ballpark by two police officers after the game.
“I was ready to talk to the media in Iowa,” he said. “They escorted me to the exit.”
He said the Cubs told him they would prefer he not talk to the media before he talked to the players. Zambrano felt he had to do the ESPN interview because he wasn’t happy about some critical stories in Chicago.
* As for his dinner with White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen after the incident, Zambrano said he had made the commitment to Guillen’s wife, who works for Pepsi in Venezuela. Zambrano has represented the company for five years. He called it a business dinner.
“Imagine you have dinner with your boss and people you do business with and something happens in your job and your work, you still have to have the meeting because it’s important,” he said.
* How will fans treat him when the Cubs return home to Wrigley Field Monday?
“They have the right to throw me in the trash or curse me,” Zambrano said. “They have the right because they pay to see a good show. They’re the fans and they like to see the Cubs do good. Obviously, I haven’t performed as well.”
— Carrie Muskat