8/19 Big Z update
Since returning to the rotation on Aug. 9, Carlos Zambrano is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA, giving up five earned runs over 16 2/3 innings. But he’s also walked 15 and given up 15 hits. Lou Piniella saw lots of positives.
“He’s got real good movement and he’s throwing a few more breaking balls and he’s using his split finger and a cut fastball,” Piniella said. “Basically, I think the velocity will come. One run over six innings, you can’t fault that at all. It was a good performance. If he gets his command a little early, he can go much deeper in the game.”
Said catcher Koyie Hill: “I thought he did a good job getting through six innings and had a chance to win. We’re facing one of the best pitchers in the National League and you go out there and give six innings — you’d classify that as effectively wild, but he didn’t get hurt and did a good job and had a chance to win the ballgame and we were winning the ballgame.”
Friday will be a special day for Big Z. He called it his “birthday in the big leagues.” On Aug. 20, 2001, Zambrano made his Major League debut in the second game of a doubleheader against the Brewers. Now, he’s the longest-tenured Cubs player.
“Whatever the team thinks is good for the team and we need for the team to be better and in a good position for next year is good for me,” he said when asked about the Derrek Lee trade.
What does Zambrano want to do?
“I don’t want to leave and I don’t think I will leave,” he said.
— Carrie Muskat