11/11 Zambrano to pitch Saturday
Carlos Zambrano had been scheduled to start Friday night for Caribes in the Venezuelan Winter League but apparently team officials decided they wanted the Cubs right-hander to take the mound Saturday. There’s nothing wrong — just a chance for a better crowd on Saturday. Zambrano went 2 2/3 innings in his first start in Venezuela.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has been in contact with Zambrano’s agent, Barry Praver, and apparently talked to the pitcher on Tuesday. Zambrano told reporter Carlos Alberto Zambrano of the Venezuelan newspaper “Lider en Deportes” that he had talked to Epstein, who wanted to set up a personal meeting in the U.S.
“We talked for awhile,” Zambrano told the newspaper. “Now I’m waiting for him to tell me when we’ll meet. It might be after the Winter Meetings that the GMs have, which are in Milwaukee this year.”
The GM meetings begin Monday in Milwaukee.
“When I go to talk to [Epstein], it will be a short trip,” Zambrano said. “For example, supposing I pitch on Saturday, I’d leave the same night. We’d talk Sunday or Monday, and by Tuesday, I’d be on my way back to Venezuela. I’m not going for a week or even five days. It’ll be quick to meet each other, talk in person. That’s very important. I’d like to build a relationship from scratch with the new GM. Erase everything and start over.”
Zambrano is under contract with the Cubs for next season, with a vesting option for 2013. His last start was Aug. 12 in Atlanta when he served up five homers, then was ejected after throwing inside to Chipper Jones. Zambrano left the ballpark, saying he was retiring. He was placed on the 30-day restricted list, and the team then decided there wasn’t time left in the season for him to get in shape to pitch.
– Carrie Muskat