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Carlos Zambrano is a quarterback kicking field goals. A center guarding Steve Nash. A starting pitcher…well, you know the rest.

That’s the score, and we have no choice but to roll with it. Zambrano, himself – following a particularly disastrous outing – is doing his best to reframe the discussion and deflect, but with every passing “I’m fine,” it becomes increasingly clear that he is not.

And the whole thing is a distraction. Good thing the Cubs aren’t clinging to first place or something like that.

Zambrano said he was upset when the change first was made, but not any longer.

”Get this clear: I was unhappy the first day they told me,” Zambrano said. ”I wasn’t sure it was going to work. But now I accept it. I’m a reliever, and I have to do my job as a setup man. I want to help this team, and today I didn’t.

”I’m a professional. If the people in the front office make the decision, as a professional you have to deal with any situation they make. The same situation happened with Alfonso Soriano when he was playing second base [with the Yankees]. They moved him to the outfield and he was unhappy, but now he is a good outfielder. So let’s move on.

”If tomorrow they bring me back to the rotation, I’ll be more than happy to do that. [But] I’m a setup man now. I’m here; that’s what they pay me for — to pitch no matter where. If they need me to be here, I’ll be the eighth-inning guy until they say they don’t want me there.

”That’s the way I handle things, professionally, and accept it.” CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.

Perhaps I’m imbuing Zambrano’s comments with my own thoughts, but to me, that does not sound like a happy guy.

And even if he were happy, and even if he were successful, he’d still be doing it for but a quarter of the innings he’d be doing it as a starter. This is the definition of a no-win situation.

  • jim

    Keeping “Big Z” in the Bullpen is a huge mistake. Whoever takes credit for this move should be kicked in the rear. Big Z is a starter & not a 18 mil bullpen reliever. This is where ownership needs to step in. The write the checks & need to be more critical of the coaching staff manuevers. “The what am I going to do” syndrome in post game comments is getting old. The simple answer is “COACH” and make the proper changes regardless of hurting feelings. Nobody has the guts to say its not working & straighten this losing mess up quick. Move Gorzellany to the bullpen in place of Z & admit your mistake like a man. Castro was batting nearly .400 & batting 8th. Come on !!!!! Nady batting clean up under .200…that is a travesty that our decision makers have no clue on setting a batting order. Stick any combo of Theriot, Koske, Castro & Byrd in the cleanup role.
    How about a 4 man rotation with Colvin over Nady. Another example of appeasing veteran players. If they don’t produce they don’t play. We need an influx of Vitamin C
    (Castro, Cashner, & Chirinos & maybe a look see on Vitters. Gamble on youth because the vets aren’t getting it done.

    Hendry assigned all the minor league stars to AA for a reason. I think you can figure out the ploy if you are a true member of Cub nation. Why won’t Hendry sing in the 7th inning….we all know why don’t we!!!!!!!

    • jstraw

      “Hendry assigned all the minor league stars to AA for a reason. I think you can figure out the ploy if you are a true member of Cub nation. Why won’t Hendry sing in the 7th inning….we all know why don’t we!!!!!!!”

      I’ll bite…

  • Kenny

    I have hated this move ever since it happened. They totally jumped the gun on this move, Zambrano had started 4 games and he had his best start of the season the day before he moved to the bullpen. I said the first day they made the move that Carlos struggles at the beginning of games, so why bring him in for 1 inning a game. I didn’t like the move when it was first made, and now I dislike the move a little more as each day passes because you can’t have your ace throwing 1 inning every other day, it just doesn’t make sense.

    • Ace

      Bingo.

    • Jeff

      Ding, Ding, Ding. I see lights flashing and bells going off, this guy wins the internet for the day. I couldn’t agree more, the point about him struggling at the beginning of games is absolutely right, and add to that Zambrano is the horse of this staff and eats over 200 innings every year, that wear and tear is placed directly onto an already overworked bullpen. The problem is that all of the starters are pitching pretty well and Hendry doesn’t seem to want to trade any of them. I would think that Wells or Gorzelany are cheap enough and valuable enough to help bring in some bullpen help.

      • Ace

        I’m not disagreeing with the overall point – I think my opposition to the Zambrano move is well known – but one small point: everyone seems to think Zambrano struggles the most at the beginning of games, but his splits actually do not support that. Over his career, he’s actually been pretty good in the first and second innings. Doesn’t seem like it when you’re watching him, but it’s apparently true.

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