Zambrano: ‘I’ve been lazy.’

Cubs’ starter Carlos Zambrano admitted that he’s been lazy in his conditioning over the years, which is one of the reasons he can’t seem to stay healthy.

From the Chicago Tribune:

“My problem is I’ve been lazy,” a contrite Zambrano said. “There are things in life you don’t like to do, but you have to do them. I don’t like abs [abdominal muscle workouts], but I have to do them. I have to start doing them every day and be serious about it.”

Doctors are convinced stronger abdominal muscles will ease the pain on back discs, one of which is bulging and has caused Zambrano pain on and off for a few years.

“I’ve got to be honest with me and with you [media] guys and the fans. I’m 28 years old, I’m not 16 anymore,” Zambrano said. “I’m a big guy and I work hard every day, [but] one of the things I don’t like to do is my abs, my core work. If I do abs every day and keep doing my job and be serious about my abs, I’ll be OK.”

I’m sure the Cubs and their fan base are thrilled to hear that Big Z hasn’t being working as hard as he could have been over the years, especially when you factor in how much he’s making.

I’m a little surprised that Zambrano wasn’t working on his core up until this point, given how important it is in baseball. Then again, there are a lot of players that rely solely on their God given talents and not strive to become a more complete player, so maybe this news shouldn’t come as a surprise

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Soriano angry will Piniella

Cubs left fielder (if you can even call him that with the nightly circus routine he usually puts on out there) Alfonso Soriano is hopping mad with manager Lou Piniella after the skipper sat him for the third time in eight in eight games Wednesday night.

“That’s why I’m mad,” Soriano said. “If he had told me yesterday, then I wouldn’t come today ready to play.”

Piniella typically gives Soriano a heads-up when he will get a day off but declined to do so this time.

“That’s a surprise to me today,” Soriano said. “I think he could have said to me last night, ‘OK, take a day off,’ especially because [Thursday] is an off day. I’d be like, ‘OK, I’ll take the two [days].’ But I like to know before I come here.”

Soriano, hitting .182 over his last 40 games, said his knee pain isn’t enough to prevent him from playing.

“I can play,” he said. “If I can play, it’s not bothering me. It bothers me if I’m not playing though.”

Asked if he would talk to Piniella about his complaint, Soriano simply replied: “No.”

Considering he’s hitting a buck eighty two over his last 40 games and is a liability defensively, Soriano doesn’t have much of a compliant here. And I found it laughable when he suggested that he wouldn’t come ready to play if he knew he was going to sit.

Hey Alfonso, the Cubs (over)pay you millions of dollars every year. How about showing up ready to play everyday, regardless of whether or not you’re in the starting lineup? Is that too much to ask?

Piniella is really working with a couple of clowns on this team. He must go home every night and punch a fresh hole through the wall of his garage.

Rogers: Cubs should give Zambrano the boot

Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune is fed up with Cubs’ starter Carlos Zambrano and thinks the club should drop kick Big Z to the curb.

Get Carlos Zambrano out of here, even if the Cubs have to give him away. He’s not the guy you want as the ace of a curse-busting team, and at this point, it’s wishful thinking that he’ll ever mature into that guy.

Proving that I did not attend Kellogg, Wharton or even the Acme School of Business, I offer this proposition for Jim Hendry: First thing Monday morning, put Zambrano on waivers. If anyone claims him and the $62.75 million left on his contract, which runs through 2012, immediately trade him for whatever is being offered, from a bag of balls to a 32-year-old minor-leaguer.

Because Hendry gave Zambrano a full no-trade clause in a 2007 contract extension, Zambrano can choose: Either go where he’s being dealt, waving goodbye to Wrigley Field, or block the trade and deal with the knowledge that you’re playing for a team that believes it can live without you.

There are many reasons that a Cubs’ team with more than $140 million invested in payroll is in fourth place in the National League Central, and one of them is a front-runner, not a difference-maker.

The Cubs are 0-5 in Zambrano’s starts in the playoffs, being outscored 31-15. We’ll dismiss the 2003 NL Championship Series as old news and blame Piniella for lifting him when he was in a 1-1 game against Brandon Webb in the 2007 playoff opener, but his pitching had as much to do with the ugly Game 2 loss to Los Angeles last year as did the four infield errors.

Hendry had a chance to let Zambrano walk as a free agent after 2007, the season in which he beat up catcher Michael Barrett during a game at Wrigley, but injuries to Mark Prior and Kerry Wood gave Zambrano a hammer.

Too bad the one he now swings makes funny noises, like the one Moe favored when whacking Larry and Curly.

This seems to me like Rogers is either a) frustrated about the Cubs’ recent woes and decided to write an anger-piece or b) is just trying to get a rise out of readers right now because he’s tired of writing about how bad the Cubs’ offense is.

Either way, this article is absolutely absurd. Zambrano might lose his mind a couple times a start, but he’s still a damn good pitcher. You don’t put your ace on waivers and take “a bag of balls” or a “32-year old minor-leaguer.” The Cubs are trying to win (stop laughing – they are), not give away quality players like used toys at a garage sale.

This is an article that probably sounded good in Rogers’ head, but it just didn’t play well on paper.

Piniella sends Bradley home in middle of game

Lou Piniella has had about all he can take of outfielder Milton Bradley.

Piniella told the mercurial slugger to go home Friday afternoon after Bradley threw his helmet and went after a water cooler following a fly out in the top of the sixth inning of the Cubs game against the crosstown rival White Sox. Piniella told him to take his uniform off, and the two exchanged words in the tunnel leading up to the Cubs clubhouse.

“I don’t like those things to happen, but I’m just tired of watching it,” an agitated Piniella said after the Cubs’ 5-4 victory. “This has been a common occurrence, and I’ve looked the other way a lot and I’m tired. I’m not into discipline, I’m really not. I’m going to put his name in the lineup tomorrow and that’s it.”

Piniella didn’t get specific about whether he was tired of Bradley’s antics in particular or those of his entire team. Pitchers Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster both went after the drink dispenser in the Cubs dugout at Wrigley Field earlier this season.

But Bradley, playing for his seventh team in nine-plus seasons, does have a long history of being volatile.

“It’s something I promise you won’t be happening again,” Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said.

Bradley has already been suspended for one game this season after arguing with umpire Larry Vanover when he was called out on strikes with the bases loaded April 16. It was his very first at-bat at Wrigley Field after signing a $30 million contract during the offseason. The umpire crew contended Bradley’s hat made slight contact with Vanover.

It would be one thing if Bradley were hitting and he was being a nuisance, but he’s batting just .237 this season with five dingers, 16 RBI and 24 runs. He was supposed to be one of the missing pieces to a Cubs’ lineup that should be thriving right now, but instead has been DOA.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Cubs just don’t cut bait and move on. Bradley hardly seems worth the trouble at this point. Then again, maybe Lou just needed to make an example of somebody and Bradley offered the perfect opportunity. This could be a situation that just blows over in a couple of days.

Has Lou Piniella lost his fire?

…that’s what some Cubs fans believe, although Sweet Lou says he’s just more in control now.

“I still have fire,” he said Thursday morning in an interview with the Tribune, hours before the Cubs’ 6-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers. “It’s more under control. The amazing thing is when I was younger and I showed it more, then I’d be criticized at times, ‘This guy is showing too much [fire].’

“I understand this business. I’ve been in it a long time, and the bottom line is you have to win. It doesn’t matter if you have fire, no fire, passion, no passion, stupidity, smartness … all of these things don’t even come into the equation. What comes into the equation — for the fans, for the organization, for the people watching — is you either win or you lose. It’s a simple thing.

“I’m doing the best I can. That’s all I can do. Last year we won 97 games and I was the manager of the year in the National League. And all of a sudden this year, I don’t have any fire? That’s why we’re not winning?

“I don’t buy that at all.”

Everyone do themselves a favor and re-read that second quote by Piniella – the one about winning and losing, because he hits the nail on the head. Fans want to see their teams win – period. If the team is losing, then the manager, general manager and hot dog vendors aren’t doing enough. If the team is winning, then the manager, general manager and hot dog vendors are the best manager, general manager and hot dog vendors this world has ever seen.

Fans who watch their teams on a nightly basis aren’t stupid – they know what’s going on and they have a good grasp of the strengths and weaknesses of their team. But in general, most fans are irrational and they lose site of the bigger picture when their team starts to lose.

Piniella hasn’t lost his fire – the Cubs simply can’t hit right now. Lou kicking dirt on an umpire isn’t going to make Aramis Ramirez healthy again and it’s not going to help Alfonso Soriano cut down on the strikeouts or Derrek Lee not hit into any double plays. If a team needs a fire lit under their ass, then Piniella is the one manager you’d pick to do that. But there’s not much he can do right now with the suckhole that the Cubs’ offense is currently in.

Related Posts