Ramon Ortiz – recently moved to the bullpen – didn’t take to his new role particularly well. He gave up three earned runs in just 1.1 innings of relief yesterday. Better him than some young kid, though, right? …
- Carlos Zambrano says he felt good yesterday, in his first start off the disabled list (back pain). He didn’t pitch well, mind you. But he felt strong and without issue. So, I guess that’s good. Mike Quade said he wanted to see Zambrano get to “100 pitches and five innings.” Um, Mike? If a pitcher needs 100 pitches to get through five innings, he’s clearly not doing so well. Incidentally, Zambrano threw 94 pitches through 4.2 innings yesterday, so at least he was on Quade’s pace. (Yes, yes, I know Quade probably meant “at least” five innings and 100 pitches.)
- Pitching coach Mark Riggins says the Cubs have been aware of Carlos Marmol’s mechanical issues for a while, and have been studying his delivery for a month. Now, they say, is the time to really try to impress upon Marmol some fixes. I can’t actually criticize the Cubs for taking that long – with Marmol’s funky delivery (from which he derives a great deal of his pitch movement), I imagine it’s not only difficult to isolate tweaks here and there, but also can be detrimental if done too hastily.
- Mike Quade made sure to caution everyone that Marmol remains the long-term closer. “He’s a closer,” Quade said, before adding something you always like to hear as a justification for a player’s role. “He’s getting paid as a closer.” It’s good to see that that mentality has made its way to the manager. Think Quade will be eager to turn Alfonso Soriano into a bench bat? “He’s getting paid as a starting left fielder.”
- Darwin Barney certainly belongs in the 8-hole in the lineup, but, as usual, Quade’s justification is just ridiculous. “I’m trying to figure out a way to help the bottom half be more productive,” Quade said. “[Barney's] such a scrappy little guy. He has done very well down there.” Two pieces of ridiculosity in there: (1) Can we please, for the love of God, stop calling all small, white guys “scrappy”?, and (2) Darwin Barney is many things, a run producer is not one of them. His OPS stands at a weak .697.
- As I noted in the comments yesterday, the Cubs sent Chris Carpenter back to AAA Iowa to make room for Zambrano. The Cubs still believe Carpenter has a future in a late-inning role, but they want him to get regular work in that capacity at AAA for now. ESPN Chicago put together a slightly bizarre piece about the possibility of trading Carlos Marmol to make room for Carpenter as the future closer – which seems wildly premature, given that no fewer than three pitchers would get a shot to be the closer before Carpenter if Marmol were gone (Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood, Jeff Samardzija). Also, trading Marmol would have been a good idea a month ago. Now, it reeks of desperation, and the return would be crap.
- Another suggestion that a Dan Vogelbach signing is close – though Phil Rogers may just be taking his information from Jim Callis, about which I told you on Friday.
- Pat Gillick for the Cubs’ next president? Phil Rogers thinks maybe. He’s 74-years-0ld, and kind of old school, but he’s obviously had a ton of success.