Results tagged ‘ Carlos Zambrano ’

11/12 Zambrano & AFL update

Carlos Zambrano gave up three runs on five hits, including two home runs,  over six innings Saturday night in his second start in Venezuela. Zambrano, who was pitching for Caribes against Zulia, struck out five of the 23 batters he faced. The homers included a two-run shot by Ernesto Mejia with two out in the first, and a solo homer by Colin Curtis with one out in the sixth.

* In Arizona Fall League play, DJ LeMahieu had two hits and Josh Vitters had one RBI in Mesa’s 8-2 loss to Phoenix on Saturday. Junior Lake was 1-for-4, scored a run and stole his 18th base. He’s now 18-for-18 in steals. Only Eric Young Jr. had more stolen bases in the AFL (20). Jeff Beliveau took the loss, giving up three runs on three hits in one inning. He struck out three but also served up a two-run homer in the fourth. Andrew Cashner also pitched one inning in relief, retiring all three batters he faced. After a day off Sunday, the Mesa Solar Sox play host to Peoria on Monday at HoHoKam Park.

— Carrie Muskat


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

11/11 Alomar’s view on managing

Sandy Alomar Jr. says he started thinking about managing back in 2001. Although he has no managerial experience, he has learned a lot from his different managers, and on Friday, he interviewed with the Cubs.

“Even though I only have four years of coaching, I feel like I have done many things in a short period of time,” Alomar said.

 He calls Chicago home, and his 7-year-old daughter goes to school near Wrigley Field. It would be an easy commute.

Although he played for the White Sox, Alomar did not interview for the managerial opening there.

“I don’t take that personally,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for the White Sox organization. What [GM Kenny Williams] did over there with Robin [Ventura] opens doors for many other people to take opportunities to sign managers without experience. They don’t owe me a call, they don’t owe me anything. I never said I was entitled to a phone call. They did what they did and you wish them the best of luck. Kenny always treated me with respect when I was there.”

What does he bring as a manager?

“I think I bring a lot of things to the table that maybe some of the other guys don’t bring in regards to being a player, going through injuries in their past, spending a lot of time in the Minor Leagues as a player,” he said. “I’ve played in the postseason, gone to a World Series, played for 10 different managers and they all participated in the postseason. Seven of them went to the World Series and three of them won the World Series. I’ve played for winning people all my career and that gave me the opportunity to learn their values and how to take abilities from other people and incorporate that to myself.”

The key to handling players is communication, and that would definitely apply to handling Carlos Zambrano.

“One of the things Zambrano has is he carries a lot of emotion on his sleeve,” Alomar said. “A lot of people from Latin American countries, those emotions come from way back when you’re a kid. The style of baseball that we play when we’re a kid in Puerto Rico, the Dominican, Venezuela and maybe Mexico, is when you’re a kid there, you have to win, you have to perform.

“I think as you grow, you think you have to bring that with you,” he said. “When you become professional, sometimes you treat the game like you’re still a kid. You want to have fun but there’s other things that have to be addressed.I think he’s an emotional guy. I would have to have conversations with him, try to get in his mind and see what’s going on and hopefully figure it out — otherwise bring a stun gun myself.”

Why do catchers make good managers? Alomar said it’s because of the way they view the game.

“You have to make moves on the fly, you call games on the fly,” he said. “You don’t have time to make decisions. You have to react and make decisions according to the plan you put in before the game. You visualize the whole field. Sometimes you even manage guys on the field. Having the ability to be in that position to see many players — you’re the only guy facing the other players and you’re the only guy who can see what the defensive positioning is. Having that in play, I think it helps a catcher make a lot of decisions and it happens fast. I think that’s why a lot of catchers hae the ability to manage.”

— Carrie Muskat

11/11 Winter league & AFL TV update

Blake Parker struck out three of the five batters he faced in Hermosillo’s 2-1 win over Mazatlan in Mexican Pacific League action. In 15 games, Parker has a 1.65 ERA, and has given up three runs on six hits and two walks over 16 1/3 innings while striking out 16.

Bryan LaHair was 1-for-4 with a double and is batting .278 in the Venezuelan Winter League. His Magallanes team was scheduled to face Caribes and Carlos Zambrano on Friday. It will be Zambrano’s second start in Venezuela.

* You can watch Cubs prospects on the Mesa Solar Sox when they face Salt River at 6:05 p.m. MT on MLB Network Friday. Check your local listings for start time.

— Carrie Muskat

11/9 Maddux: Cubs are unique

Mike Maddux did call his brother Greg before coming to Chicago to interview for the Cubs managerial opening.

“I think this was a unique situation, the first time we ever talked about anything like this,” Maddux said Wednesday after his interview session with Theo Epstein and Co. “[Greg] gave me a little background of what’s going on. It was very, very helpful.”

Greg also could be part of the deal. Maddux said he discussed the possibility of his brother joining him on the coaching staff if Mike did get the Cubs job. But that’s a family matter that will be discussed later. First, Mike Maddux would have to be offered the job, then decide if he wants to relocate his family again. Maddux withdrew from consideration for the Red Sox opening because of the long distance between Boston and his current home in Texas. Both his daughters are in school in the Dallas area. Why did he say yes to the Cubs?

“Chicago’s a neat place,” Mike said. “I like being in Chicago.”

What does it take to be a big league manager?

“Opportunity, No. 1.,” he said. “To be a good one, experience would come in. Are you good your first day? Time will tell. I think passion, you have to have passion. Work ethic. Respect of everybody you work with, respect from your players. Be demanding of your players, too.”

But being a manager isn’t something Maddux thought about.

“I’m very happy with what I do, I enjoy what I do,” said Maddux, who was the Rangers pitching coach. “I’m administering to half the team in Spring Training during the season. People have reached out to me [to interview]. It wasn’t something that I’ve reached out to other people. I think it’s kind of cool to be considered.”

He also showed his sense of humor in answering questions.

“What would I look for in a pitching coach?” Maddux said. “Somebody who could put up with my second guessing.”

How would he handle Carlos Zambrano?

“How would I handle him? I don’t know him,” Maddux said. “The first thing you have to do is meet him. I heard he was a big teddy bear. I might pick him up and just burp him.”

OK, seriously.

“I saw Carlos Zambrano from across the field seven, eight years ago and he was the best thing since sliced bread,” Maddux said. “He beat you on the mound, he beat you at the plate, he beat you in the field. He would even steal bases. He was a great competitor. He was the best pitcher in the National League. That’s what I have in my mind about him. I’ve seen him dominate.”

What was his impression of Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and the group?

“I can’t do an impression of them,” Maddux said.

Pause for laughter.

“Young. Bright folks. Much like what I deal with in my current position,” Maddux said. “The new age general managers, front office guys, highly educated, very motivated, but very true and very honest and that’s about all you can really ask for is people who are honest, people who share your passion. Even if our educations are far apart, I’m pretty damn proud of my high school education. I went to college, too. Very entertaining. We had a good time together, I think.”

Maddux, Epstein, Hoyer and staff went to dinner Tuesday night, then wrapped up the interview on Wednesday at Wrigley Field. Does Maddux have a theory as to why the Cubs have not won a World Series in so long?

“When I was with the opposition, I did everything I could to keep the Cubs from winning,” he said. “I’ve never been here and analyzed it. I never played for the Cubs, always played against them. I’ve always admired everything — and I despise the song ‘Go Cubs Go’ after they kick our butts. I’ve always admired this town. It’s a unique, very unique set-up, very historic. Whoever becomes the manager of this ballclub is in a good spot.”

And, as he left the interview room, he struck a pose from side to side like a model for the cameras.

— Carrie Muskat

11/8 The Royals & Big Z

Theo Epstein wanted to talk to Carlos Zambrano before deciding whether or not the Cubs and the pitcher can co-exist, and the two could chat this week. There may be interest in the right-hander — most likely a lot of interest if the Cubs were willing to pick up a significant chunk of the money he’s owed.

On Monday, Royals GM Dayton Moore, asked by 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City if his team would be interested in a trade for the controversial pitcher, said: “We would have to be interested. We would have to explore it because that’s what you should do.” But on Tuesday, Moore told’s Dick Kaegel he should not have commented on a player under contract with another club, and indicated any suggestion the Royals were pursuing Zambrano was misplaced. He clarified his remarks.

“It’s our job as a baseball operations department to listen and explore every potential opportunity that would improve our team,” Moore said. “We spend countless hours doing so and we invite everybody’s opinion as to how it pertains to how we could improve our team. And if one of our people brought up Carlos Zambrano, I would listen and ask questions about why they believe that. That’s all that was and I responded in that spirit.”

Zambrano is owed $18 million next season, and has a $19 million vesting option for 2013. He also has a full no-trade clause. The right-hander, who is scheduled to make his second start Friday in the Venezuela Winter League, most likely would veto a move to an American League team. He wouldn’t get a chance to hit.

— Carrie Muskat

11/6 Big Z makes 1st start for Caribes

In his first start since Aug. 12, Carlos Zambrano gave up two runs on four hits, including a solo homer by Bryan LaHair, in 2 2/3 innings in Caribes’ 5-4 loss to Magallanes in Venezuelan Winter League play on Sunday. Zambrano, who did not get a decision, also walked two and struck out three. LaHair’s blast was a towering 420-foot shot to straightaway center leading off the third inning. The Cubs had someone watching Zambrano’s outing. He was expected to make nine starts for Caribes between now and Dec. 20. Last week, Theo Epstein said he approved of Zambrano pitching in Venezuela.

“I think it’s a good thing under the circumstances,” Epstein said. “He probably needs the innings. It could be good for his state of mind to get out there and perform.”

Epstein, the new president of baseball operations, hopes to talk to Zambrano, possibly as soon as this week.

Former big leaguer Julio Franco is Zambrano’s manager, and reportedly said he may use the right-hander as a pinch-hitter.

Zambrano arranged for a bus to bring more than 50 friends and family from his home of Puerto Cabello to watch the game, and he was greeted with a loud ovation when he took the mound.

— Carrie Muskat

11/6 AFL & winter ball update

Junior Lake went 1-for-3 with a double but also made a costly throwing error as the West team beat the East, 11-2, in the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars game Saturday in Surprise. Cubs prospects Chris Carpenter and Trey McNutt each pitched in the game in relief. After an off day Sunday, the three rejoin the Mesa Solar Sox and play host to Peoria at HoHoKam Park on Monday.

In Venezuela, Austin Bibens-Dirkx gave up two hits and struck out five over seven innings to help Zulia beat La Guaira, 4-0. On Sunday, Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to start for Caribes against Magallanes. It will be his first game since Aug. 12.

— Carrie Muskat

11/3 Keeping an eye on Big Z

The Cubs will have someone in Venezuela on Sunday to watch Carlos Zambrano when the right-hander makes his first start for Caribes. Zambrano has not pitched in a game since Aug. 12. The right-hander was ejected from that game in Atlanta, then left the ballpark, saying he was retiring. He has since said the retirement talk was made out of frustration after serving up five home runs to the Braves. He was placed on the 30-day restricted list and did not rejoin the Cubs. Zambrano tuned up for his Venezuelan Winter League start with a 40-pitch outing on Tuesday.

“I think it’s a good thing [that he’s pitching] under the circumstances,” Theo Epstein said Thursday. “He probably needs the innings. It could be good for his state of mind to get out there and perform.”

Epstein has talked to Zambrano’s agent, Barry Praver, and would like to talk to the pitcher next week if possible.

— Carrie Muskat

11/2 Zambrano tunes up with 40-pitch session

Carlos Zambrano tuned up for his first Venezuelan Winter League start with a 40-pitch workout in a sim game on Tuesday. He will make his first start Sunday for Caribes.

“It’s great to have someone of Zambrano’s experience and leadership abilities,” said catcher Jose Gil, one of Zambrano’s teammates. “He inspires us all and exudes confidence. He really believes in the talent this team has, especially with the youth we have around here. He is even taking BP every day which is amazing to see.”

Zambrano told Venezuelan media that he’s motivated to pitch again in the big leagues.

“I know I’ve said many bad things in moments of frustration, but I certainly want to keep playing baseball,” he said. “I love this sport and that’s why I’m here.”

Zambrano told Caribes he will pitch through November and early December. He has a commitment Dec. 20 in Guatemala regarding the young boy he has been trying to adopt.

As for new Cubs president of baseball operations, Theo Epstein, Zambrano called him “a person with vision of the game that comes from a team of great tradition ( Red Sox) like Chicago.” Zambrano told reporters he wanted to meet with the Cubs new management team face to face, and not talk on the phone.

As for his conversations with new Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, Zambrano said both are aware of tampering rules imposed by Major League Baseball. The two filmed a commercial together in Venezuela recently.

— Carrie Muskat