Zombie: A Tool or Five?

Is there anything Carlos Zambrano can't do on a baseball field [other than keep cool]? What is he, an ace or an ass?

Dave van Dyck speculates in this morning's Chicago Tribune that if Zombie [call him Big Z if you like; I call him Zombie - it will make a good stage name when he becomes a pro wrestler] misses his Friday start in Milwaukee one of three Iowa Cubs will take his place: Randy Wells, Mitch Atkins or Jose Ascanio.

Atkins' first two starts were poor and as a result he still carries a bloated and somewhat misleading ERA of 6.99. The last three have been better.

Wells has been solid from the outset in compiling an ERA of 3.13.

Both Atkins and Wells have K/BB ratios of 3:1 and are big, imposing righthanders.

Ascanio has made five starts and sports a sparkling ERA of 1.25 but only in his last outing did he go five innings. His pitch count that night was 81, the first time he's been that high as he transitions from relief to the rotation. Of the three candidates van Dyck names, Ascanio seems the least likely from here.

This morning's Des Moines Register says Wells will start the opener of the I-Cub homestand tonight versus Nashville. The team's website tabs Atkins. A complicating factor might also be that the team's last two games over the weekend in Memphis were rained out.

Atkins' last appearance was on April 30, Wells' was April 27 and Ascanio was May 1.

There's always Samardzija...MW


The White Sox signed first baseman-outfielder Daryle Ward to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Charlotte. Ward hit .250/.300/.393 in 28 at-bats this spring before the Reds sent him packing. He played for the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League during the month of April.

The problem with Samardzija, and apparently Ascanio, is that they aren't properly stretched out. You can't have them start knowing basically best case scenerio is they get 5 innings. I'd rather take a flier on Wells.

Mike Wellman:
Dave van Dyck speculates in this morning's Chicago Tribune that if [Zambrano] misses his Friday start in Milwaukee one of three Iowa Cubs will take his place...

Isn't that Heilman's job?

And besides, I don't think you'll find many ball players as exciting as Zambrano. I think many of us want our Cubs to be high-energy ball players like that. I'll take the risk of him hurting a leg trying to beat out a bunt. That's effing awesome.

I think Samardzija and Guzman are the 'long' relievers right now. Heilman is being used as the 7th inning guy mostly.

These type of spot starts you just have to see what happens. Chances are you aren't going to see any of them put up great numbers in their first major league starts. If no one goes on the DL, I'd say Samardzija is the choice for 4-5 innings and then Guzman and Patton after that.

Too bad for Heilman he's been an effective late inning reliever. If he had been stretched out, or stayed stretched out, he'd make plenty of sense. How long has it been since Samardzija made a start? He ought to still be at least as stretched out as Ascanio, right? I believe AZ Phil mentioned in a recent post that Randy Wells would be the most likely replacement starter at this point in the season (if anyone is called up from Iowa to start). If Phil thinks it's a good idea, I'm for it.

Denise Richards I guess butchered "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" this weekend. While it wasn't as bad as some reporters are making it out to be. Hopefully the Cubs can stop this action and just play a recording of harry doing it. This story shows Richards and then gives a good take on the whole thing.


Uh no..it was just putrid....unbearable to listen to, and she read every word off a card. Other than that, she was hot!

It really was that bad.

And the radio interview was just as bad, if not worse.

I was bad, but not Gordon-Ozzie-Ditka bad. BUT, I absolutely hate the tradition and especially hate the interview that follows.

Tonight's interview with the Red Stars player may have been historic: she was so uninteresting, Len dismissed her even before the second out of the half inning. As much as we hate these interviews, Kasper and Brenly must hate them more.

Santo seems quite happy with them, however, as though he is receiving company in his living room.

Loved this Santo question of Peter Cetera—"So what are your hobbies?"

In another inning:

Santo: "....well...."

Long pregnant pause

Hughes: "and the pitch to..."

Yeah, that was great. I hope it becomes a tradition. "Well, sorry you have to go." I don't have to..." "Thanks for being here, good bye."

According to Bruce Levine's sources.

Bummer, dude. Oh, well. It's May. Not really that big of a deal in the long run.


Here's the post from Levine. Of course equating Zambrano's injury to Sutcliffe is a little premature. So I'm assuming we'll get to see a couple of starts from one of the Iowa guys. I bet Z only misses 2-3 starts.

As for the 'should he have bunted' question? He's just as likely to pull his hamstring on a groundout to short as a bunt. I'm just glad this happened in a game he started and not a PH appearance. Baseball is a game of risk you can't wrap the guys up in bubble wrap.

I agree. He's a ballplayer, if he gets hurt running to first, you can't really fault him for that.

I think it was Kruk who said something to the effect "that's why power hitters don't bunt". Saying, if you bunt for a hit, you are guaranteeing a sprint to the base as opposed to a basehit where he doesn't necessarily need to go full speed. I think it's a good point, but I'm still fine with Zambie doing what he does.

He was bunting for a hit, not a sacrifice.

With questions on his conditioning he should not be doing sudden sprints when not neccessary.

It was dumb

The reason Kruk didn't bunt was because he was too fat. The reason power hitters don't bunt is because they don't want singles, they want doubles and HR's. Some power hitters who are reasonable athletes will bunt, particuarly to get rid of a shift. I remember Edmonds doing that a couple of years ago.

I for one am in favor of giving Samardzija the start. He needs the innings anyway (he should be starting in Iowa). Otherwise, reports no Randy Wells seem to be positive.

I agree 100%. Z isn't going to be out 4 wks. It's not an arm injury. Also agree that shit happens. Of course you be careful with these guys but if they can help the team, ie pitcher PHing, well that's what he's there to do.

We all know the Cubs and their injury reports, so let's just hope it is 2-4 weeks and that Z gets 100% healthy and it is not something he needs to deal with the rest of the year. Even 4 weeks is not the end of the world, and with a $140MM payroll, the Cubs should be able to handle it. Unfortunately their minor league system is not very good, but with 2 off days the next 2 Mondays, we should be able to skip that spot a few times.

Did anyone ask Fergie or Mad Dog to take Z's spot in the rotation? Was anyone at the game yesterday? How was the ceremony? I missed the ceremony but saw the game.

I was at Atkins start in Memphis last Thursday. He didn't look good at all. Sam Fuld saved his bacon on several occasions. Atkins was giving up line drives in the gap all game. There was a light rain/drizzle all night to effect the hitters, and it still didn't matter. Topped out at 90 pitched mostly at 86-88.

That's cool, Dr. The only MiLB game I have seen ever was at Wrigley last summer.

One of these years I want to hit Peoria, Indianapolis (I've been told its a great park), and Lansing.

Re: Z

Meh. As I posted the other day, I love the guy, and he "tweaked" his hammy with a perfect bunt! Sean Marshall cannot even get a fucking bunt down when he squares up, let alone a thing of beauty like Z,

Until there is DH in the NL, this stuff will happen. I don't have a problem with the way it did.We knew that we'd have a starter go down at one point or another. It sucks that not only did we trade Marquis, but Hendry DFA'd the pitcher we traded for! That makes perfect sense to me...

Agree E-Man. This stuff will happen. He was hustling down the line, kudos to that. Let's just get him 100% now.

How come a 6'5", 250 pound starting pitcher is capable of a lead off bunt single but neither Pie nor Patterson could ever learn this skill? Hopefully all this means is that if the Cubs make the playoff Z's arm will have a few less innings on it.

"Hopefully all this means is that if the Cubs make the playoff Z's arm will have a few less innings on it."

File under "Silver Linings."

Indianapolis is indeed a beautiful ballpark. Best minor league park in the country and it isn't close. Great view of the Indy skyline from behind home plate.

I'd wait a year or two if you plan on making a special trip down, however. They're building a new hotel across the street and there's a bunch of construction equipment and stuff behind the LF fence that really detracts from the view right now.

I'll be there tonight. Hoping for an A-Rod rehab sighting so I can boo the shit out of him.

Boo him for me, too, WES.

Indy has a skyline?


Potential new lineup to debut tonight:

Sounds like it could go Sori-Riot-Fuku-Lee-ARam-Bradley, followed by some combo of the catcher and Font/Miles.

I heard Bruce Miles discussing this today on WSCR.

Miles believes that the call-up is Wells...

Waiting with bated breath.

Any word on Vizcaino? I think the Cubs 10 days are up. Did he get traded, accept assignment or did the Cubs just released him?

What is the major league experience among the potential replacement starters?

Randy Wells pitched one inning for Toronto after they selected him n the Rule 5 draft, and I think 2 innings for Chicago last year. Samardzija, of course, has some MLB relief experience. Ascanio pitched a few innings for the Cubs last year in relief. I don't think Mitch Atkins has made any MLB appearances. So, minimal.

Scales taking grounders at Wrigley... Looks like they'll call up an infielder, then do something else to fill Z's spot on Friday...

scales owns middle/corner IF gloves...that's about all you can say about his ability in the IF, imo.

Is he worse than Fonty @ 3B?

Stats anyone?

Forget Fonty. Is he worse than Hill at 3B? :)

Not only that, Fonty can move to 2B and push Miles out of the lineup. I'm confident that Scales will outperform Miles at the plate given the chance.


Has his fielding stats. All you can really glean from that is he's not Sandberg/Polanco class at 2nd, and he has played OF as well.

Thanks for the info, Charlie.

I am happy for Bobby Scales finally getting a chance.

I always like when a guy makes his MLB debut. I just have zero expectations from him, which could be a good thing as he could surprise me and play well, even if for only a few days. But a guy who is 31 making his debut just can't be much of a player.

Yeah, I have no expectations. I just hope that he takes it all in, and doesn't stink up the place...

According to BP, his last three years in the minors translate to about what Henry Blanco did for us last year. He's actually down a little bit on his typical BABIP numbers in Iowa this year, so at least to this point those numbers look legit.

Hopefully he'll perform well enough to send Gathright packing.

You can't predict how well a guy will do in the big leagues based on minor league numbers. We've gone through this before.

I could be totally wrong about this, but I think we'll come to love Bobby Scales.

i'd be surprised if the guy saw more than 5-8ab, honestly.

We have gone through this before, and your conclusion above has been proven wrong, literally hundreds of times.



HA HA Yeah it is not even worth it...:)

Ha Ha yeah.

Here's and idea for you simpletons.

Take any 100 consecutive first round picks.

Over the approximate same period, take 100 guys who were AAA All-Stars.

Compare them, anyway you want, then get back to me.



...and Z officially goes on the DL.

no idea replacement...looking like scales, though. esp. if he's at wrigley taking grounders.

Are there any AA pitchers (Ala Patton) that are ready to try five innings in the bigs?

I'm sure AZ Phil or Mike W could respond in more detail, but it looks like the only two starters doing much at AA are Casey Coleman and Casey Lambert. Coleman was drafted just last year and is very young; he's also just getting his first taste of AA ball. Lambert has less impressive strikeout numbers, but his WHIP is lower and he's got an ERA of 2.76 in 127.1 minor league innings. However, until this year he's mostly been used as a reliever. Lambert would be more likely to be called up to replace Cotts (or just to be a second lefty) than he would to fill a rotation spot. These guys have to be behind Wells, Ascanio, Atkins, and Caridad on the depth chart.

I always wondered how much money these minors leaguers see for a small cup of coffee, so I did a quick calculation. If Scales is with the club for four days, M/T/W/Th before being sent back down, he would get almost 10 grand, plus daily meal money. (Lg. minimum salary 400k over 6+ months is about 2,200 day for rookies). Not bad. Especially if he's only making 25-35k in the minors. Imagine how just getting called up for September can be a huge financial plus to a fringe player.

plus you get mlb benefits. huge perk for the 'cup of coffee-career' guys.

1 day on roster (you don't even have to play) and you get full medical for life.

43 days for pension...etc etc.

plus he's now on the 40 man, getting mlb benefits (as noted) and higher base salary

Musket says:

It'll be LF Soriano, SS Theriot, RF Bradley, 1B Lee, 3B Ramirez, C Soto, CF Johnson, 2B Miles and P Dempster.

sweet...everyone's f'n healthy.

Z, aside, that is.

hope the rust wears off soon...esp. for bradley...

The irony of Zambrano going to the DL is that we lose our most dangerous pinch-hitter.


That said, I look forward to seeing what Scales can do if he's called up. These are his AAA stats since 2005 (which have steadily improved each season):

1628 AB, 481 H, 94 2B, 20 3B, 50 HR, 215 BB, 398 K

.295/.378/.470 (.848 OPS).

To me, that's a pretty solid, consistent, AAA line over a large sample size.

This shows me he has a good eye, decent power, but will strike out a lot (which might be a big problem).

What I'd kind of expect is for Scales to hit better than Aaron Miles and be able to play 3B, 2B, 1B (behind Lee and Hoffpauir) and in LF and RF (he's played over 250 games in the OF in the minors).

As a switch-hitter, he gives Piniella better options against LHPs than we currently have.

It's possible that Scales only stays on the roster for a few days, but in the best of all possible worlds, I imagine Scales could hit near his minor league numbers (I'd gladly take anything over .330-.350/.400-.450) and play passable defense at multiple positions, allowing Miles to stick to being ONLY the back-up SS (and emergency catcher and also motel-room security) with Scales also being Fontenot's platoon partner at 2B against LHP (instead of Miles).

And for the human element, I don't see ANYTHING but positive things coming from a 31-year old making his MLB debut. Certainly that has to have a motivating effect on the rest of the team.

If Scales could do all these things, I see that as more valuable than Joey Gathright, who has only contributed a few innings with his glove and is 1 for 3 in SBs.


I don't think I've said it on this thread yet, so I'll go ahead and say it... I'm a big fan of Scales' swing. He has great mechanics.

Let me beat crunch to the punch, here.

There's a reason Aaron Miles has a MLB gig and Bobby Scales doesn't.

Wait, I know this one! Because he's white? Because he did battle with a criminal in his hotel room? Because he had the good fortune to come up with Colorado during a time when they really weren't that good and thus had some gaping holes?

i have no idea where bobby scales love is coming from.

quite bluntly i dont expect him to do anything and i expect him to not get much of a chance to do it, too.

Yes I agree, in fact if we do see him it means bad things because Ramirez and Fontenot won't be playing.

He'll be on the team until Friday, whether he gets more than 5 abs is questionable, but I'm happy that he now gets a nice MLB pension once he gets old.

Good for him.

Well NOW they both do!


Good points. Welcome to TCR.

ASG voting going on now, if you are into that sort of thing. I'm not eff-ing around with voting 25 times, but I voted once and Ramirez, Fukudome, and Soriano made my list.

I considered writing-in Bobby Scales but decided against it. *rolls eyes*

Not going to give it a few more weeks (or months) before you decide who has earned an All Star appearance? Fukudome has had a great first month, but he did that last year too and looked completely out of place at the ASG.

I only had two other Cubs picked at the time, I figured I should pick one more for aesthetics.

That is valid. Carry on.

I try to counter balance the racism and not vote for Japanese players for the MLB ASG or Chinese ones for the NBA's.

You balance out racism by being racist? Interesting tactic.

gallagher up and epat down for the As (as well as other moves).

randy wells starts Friday per Hendry on CSN, tonight.

shitty ab by reed johnson w bases juiced.

That explains why he was pulled after 3 innings (39 pitches) tonight. Also, Brad Snyder hits his 6th homerun of the season. He's batting over .300.

Man, Lou's talk with Theriot did some good, eh?

theriot strikes again

Ok seriously what juice is Theriot on? :)

This is amazing...

eight homers for the tobasco kids

I'm not at all surprised by Fontenot's power, but where did Theriot come from?

He seems to be swinging the bat like a man for the first time in two years.

What trade did Snyder come in again? Pie?

Don't recall...

I believe he was claimed off waivers last fall.

Cubs should have at least six runs. bases loaded 3x.

very frustrating...

oh well, still 4-2 good guys now

Question, for Iowa Mike or AZ Phil: Who is Greg Reinhard?

He's from Marinette, and went to UW-Whitewater, so he's a cheesehead and borderline Yooper. He also has a very high K-rate at AAA, and a .55 ERA, after a pretty good campaign in AA last year.

Prospect at all?

Cubs got him in the trade for Jae-kuk Ryu along with OF and OF Andrew Lopez. I'm sure he was recommended by Wilken who drafted him for the Rays.

 The biggest thing was last year I kind of
figured out what kind of pitcher I was going to be out of the ‘pen.
Along with the slider, I started throwing a split. When I was in Tampa,
they converted everyone to curveball and changeup. I think now I’ve
been able to get back to a slider and split. When I first came over (in
’07), I was still trying to throw a changeup. I’m throwing a slider and
then a split-finger. … I just started throwing [the split] last year. I
was kind of having trouble with the changeup and when I went to Iowa,
Mike Mason asked me if I’d ever thrown one, which I had, so he gave me
the green light. 

Maybe 3/44, but from the bottom notes section of a Cubs.com article it says that Luis Vizcaino was released by the Cubs, so they found no takers for a trade after designating him. Interesting to see who signs him and how well or poorly he does.

That lineup v. Lincecum? This is the equivalet of the Bears punting on first down.

Recent comments

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  • 34-14...awww yeah.

    crunch 30 min 41 sec ago view
  • Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]

    Eric S 1 hour 51 min ago view
  • ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.

    cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/

    crunch 2 hours 25 min ago view
  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 5 hours 21 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 5 hours 24 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 5 hours 34 min ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 6 hours 17 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 11 hours 2 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 11 hours 3 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 20 hours 44 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 23 hours 42 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 23 hours 54 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 1 day 3 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 1 day 8 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 1 day 27 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 1 day 1 hour ago view