Zambrano Leaves Early With Back Injury

The Cubs offense opened up another can of whoop-ass on an opposing pitcher, scoring six runs in the first two innings. Z gave two of those runs back and has been replaced in the bottom of the 4th inning by Jeff Samardzija, who promptly gave up a leadoff double(runner since erased on a sac bunt attempt).

Len mentioned something about back stiffness, I'm sure more details will be forthcoming.

UPDATE: It doesn't at least and he plans to make his next start..blames it on being a big guy and possibly the hotel bed.

"As the game was going, it was feeling worse and worse, and I saw my
arm dropping," Zambrano said. "Lou told me something that was right. He
said, 'Before you get injured because of your back, let's get you out
of the game.' I knew my release point was low. It was the best choice
to take me out of the game." 

Aramis Ramirez also left the game in the top of the 10th inning. He was hit in the left elbow by a pitch, stayed in and made it to second base and then signaled to the trainers and had to be helped off the field after complaining of dizziness.

I saw the hit by pitch, but walked away and didn't see Ramirez get removed from the game. I did catch the bottom of the 10th and if you missed it, Lou was forced to put Alfonso Soriano at second base, Jeff Baker at third base and Sam Fuld in left field. Even better, he switched Baker and Soriano when the lefty Jeremy Hermida came up to bat, rightfully figuring that the odds were higher that Hermida would pull the ball to second (Hermida K'd eventually). Either way, some fun water cooler talk as the Cubs nearly blew what should have been a laugher.


[email protected]#! I hope its not serious, and they can at least win this game.

Z's hurt, you say? No big deal. We've got Tom Fucking Gorzelanny now. They don't even know what's coming.

"I'm sure more details will be forthcoming." HA! this is the cubs we are talking about.

the postseason with Marmol in the bullpen." A little wildness and a few bad outings and these announcers overreact. But the control problems are worrisome. Of course, every team in baseball would want Marmol in their pen, but the number of BBs does make our dependence on him a gamble.

Two outs, nobody on, 3-run lead...are you fucking kidding me? As I have said before, the Cubs should just forfeit all games in Florida and avoid making the trip.

guh Gregg's outing reminiscent of Kerry Wood's performance against the Cubs in June. Nice answer by D-Lee ...

Any theories on why A-Ram left the game?

Not watching the game - where did the pitch hit him?

It hit him on the left arm, near the elbow. When he left the game he was on second base and seem to be queezy, dizzy, or something along those lines--not pointing toward his elbow at all. Bob hypothesized that maybe it was the heat.

Thanks Charlie - encouraging that it didn't appear to be related to the HBP (i.e., no bone fracture). Brutal win, but I'll take it.

"let's get this done in the bottom of the 10th with Aaron Heilman" ....shivers of fear

HEILMAN for closer!!

if Lou had any balls he'd platoon Hoff and Lee

/TCR comments in April

You've been awfully smug about Hoffpauir. What would happen to Lee's numbers if he got one start a week in right field?

You don't think it's possible that the smugness is as much about Lee's offensive success as it is about Hoffpauir's struggles? That's what the recommendation of the platoon was really about in the spring, I believe--the idea that Lee was done being a good hitter.

With regard to comments on D-Lee's season, I'm in the "nothing to see here" camp ... move along on now, move on!

I think Crunch brought this up in parachat last night: Derrek Lee May 1 - Yesterday: .322/.400/.610 for a 1.010 OPS 20HR and 59 RBI in that span. Only 4 GIDP. That's amazing. What's crazier, and all credit to Crunch, if you remove the first 6 games, yes, 6 games: Apr13-Yesterday: .310/.384/.573 for a .957 OPS 21HR and 65 RBI Link here: So DLee is far and away an all-star for the period not including Apr 6-12. After that, he's been on fire.

it was me

Hot streak killer! ;-)

Sorry Chad, you're right. You brought that up in Parachat. Its a great point you made, Lee has been pretty amazing. Of course I just destroyed his luck. This lineup sucks. Derrek Lee sucks.

You've been awfully smug...

pot, I'd like for you to meet the kettle...

Not really, because when I am smug about something I don't repeat it again and again.

This is a recipe for awesome. Can we have an entire thread in which we discuss who among the writers/commenters here is better and who is worse in which we all claim one random person to antagonize and then demonstrate how we are, in fact, much, much better and cooler? That'd be fun. I call dibs on rokfish.

Wow, that was some game but a huge win. I have little or no faith in Dempster, but they absolutely killed Nolasco earlier this year. Taking 2 out of 3 at this god forsaken place would be way more than you could hope for. Ok edit, Nolasco wasn't as bad as I remember, 6 runs 5 earned in 6 innings. I remember he didn't look very good though? We'll take it.

Brenley why would you take the bat off your shoulders no one hits marmol , stikeouts walks or hit by pitch. Just think if he cutr his walks in half WOW. Also would be alot less stress on cub fans.

Dusty ruins another one Edison Volquez elbow surgery next week

Did Cubs make a roster move to call-up Gorzelanny?

I haven't seen anything about it, but my guess is that Fuld goes back down. Here is a recent tweet from Gordon Wittenmeyer about Gorzelanny and his "3-start chance" If you have to prove yourself, Cincinnati is not a bad team to start with...

the cubs currently have just 4 starters on the roster and are carrying an extra bullpen arm... dont you think a pitcher is more likely to go down tues when gorzelanny is activated? stevens or samardzija? depends on how much the bullpen is used in the next few days, but i am more inclined to think a pitcher would go before a 4th outfielder, and one of two defensively sound outfielders on the team. or maybe jeff baker and his .216 avg (w the cubs) and 3 years service time mark inching closer. by the way, when does miles have to come back? isn't his 20 day dl stint almost up? what are the team's options there? well, besides the O's paying $20M, at least it sounds reasonable

So Friday night, Nunez strikes out Hill to end the game with a three run lead and a runner on. Nunez throws his arms up in celebration, and Hill takes note. Tonight, Hill grounds into a 3-1 put-out to end the top of the 10th with Nunez pitching. Hill looked to attempt to make contact at first while Nunez loitered on the bag. Nunez then stared down Hill briefly, while Uggla re-directed him to the dugout. Brenly made a comment about how that was a good decision on Dan's part, as Hill would destroy Nunez. This was of course on top of the hitters getting hit. Bad blood building here? Dempster may still be thinking payback for Braun's May 9th antics in Milwaukee, too.

Not to mention: Nunez plunking ARam Bonifacio going nuts for himself after his Very Awful Triple Bradley kinda doing the same thing after a safe-at-2nd call Marmol doing his usual antics after getting out of his usual jam The hated Cody Ross tracking down a lazy fly ball in an exaggeratedly lackadaisical way (may not have been part of it; I just hate Ross and wanted to blame him for something) I definitely had the sense that these teams were trying to show each other up. Of course, biased as I am, I believe the Marlins started it and the Cubs are just responding in kind, perhaps out of frustration that this judy-hitting, overhyped bunch (H. Ramirez excluded) continues to give them fits.

The FLA crowd also was vocally anti-Cub ... moreso than I've heard on other road broadcasts. I saw the HBP on Hanley Ramirez, but not the plunk on ARam. Couldn't have been retaliation in the 10th, could it?

The 37 marlins fans are just annoyed that 85% of the people at the game are cubs fans. I lived in south florida for 3 years, it's a terrible non-dolphins sports town.

Well the Heat doesn't do badly - when winning. Imo, the Dolphins trump all as you say - then 'Canes Football - then Gulfstream - then Hialea - and Marlins and the Harness Races duke it out, maybe with 'Canes baseball!

That was solid of Uggla to get involved and get Nunez into the dugout.

I have been wondering here out loud since last year: is jeff samardjia ready to pitch in the majors? is Hendry ramming him down Lou's throat? are there not better options in AAA?

No doubt Hendry is ramming. If Samardzija would go back to football, wouldn't that free up $10 mil?

Go read "Heart of the Game" by S.L Price. It helped me to understand why guys like Samardjia get "rammed down" MLB manager's throats. He seems to me to be quite a ways away from being a productive, reliable MLB pitcher. He scares me every time he comes into a game. His performance last night is typical. I am sure there are plenty of pitchers in AAA and even AA who are pissed that the "golden boy" gets the opportunity to fail at the MLB level while they continue to toil (or have success) in the minors. If the Cubs can put him in the trade mentioned above for Brian Roberts, I say do it.

I can name one who was devestated when Samardzija leapfrogged past him into AAA, former Cubs #2 prospect and 2006 Cubs minor league player of the year Donnie Veal who went from a AA All-Star the first half to a disastrous second half of the season when Samardzija was promoted ahead of him. Of course, Veal is now with the Pirates where he is equally as not ready for primetime as Smardz is for the Cubs.

I'm so impressed with Tim Lincecum. The guy is 12-3 with a 2.14 ERA. That's Greg Maddux peak of his career good. Back to back Cy Youngs? If he keeps up like this I think it's a lock.

He's ridiculous good. Batters' only hope against him is to guess hit.

He's very appropriately nicknamed The Freak. He's got the type of talent that comes along once in every generation. I hope he stays as healthy as Maddux the rest of his career. Even when he's pitching against us, he's a joy to watch.

Agreed. Randy Wells will be ROY candidate with enough innings.

OPS last 30 days: D Lee: 1.026 A Ramirez: 1.011 A Soriano: .945 M Bradley: .894 K Fukudome: .892 and J Fox: .998 Even though Harden and Lilly have crappy ERAs for the last 30, their WHIPs are 1.23 and 1.31 respectively. August and September should be fun.

Next time Sori plays anywhere in the IF they'll bunt it toward him to test him. Not exactly a confidence boost by Lou last night per his abilities there.

With added hindsight of Soriano's post-game comments, can you blame Lou for the multiple infield moves? “Thank God they didn’t hit me a groundball,” Soriano said, “because I didn’t know what was going to happen.”;_ylt=AhIoZA... Dude sounds like jumping out of the way or curling into the fetal position may have been distinct possibilities.

So one of our top-paid Cubs, at 16 mil/year this year, is not quit sure about playing the game of baseball. Super.

In the infield, no less, where he played for the first 20 or so years that he played the game. Yes, third isn't the same as second, but if you've taken a routine grounder in your life, it doesn't really matter what side of the infield you stand on.

Nobody else here thinks that what he is referring to is the fact that he hasn't worked on his infield defense since he moved to the outfield four years ago? Don't we always talk about how playing baseball is enormously dependent upon preparation? He's been preparing himself (presumably) to play outfield, not the infield (clearly). Plus, it's hard to hop when pulling in a grounder.

Plus, it's hard to hop when pulling in a grounder. The most important part of your argument.

this is kind of funny (assuming patton has a "groin injury"):

Astros 2, stl back to first

Someone remind me again why Heilman is still allowed to pitch past the 6th inning??

Aaron F. Heilman to Cody F. Ross. It's like the worst of all worlds. Like a Sam Neill movie scored by the Spin Doctors. Bleah

sorry dbl post

Alright Gregg - time for the redemption song

Definitely redeemed himself there. NOT!

Yep. That kind of sucked in a Yoko Ono covers the best of Bob Marley way.

double-post. catch the fever.

Jake Fox consistently proving why Milton was such a bad signing.

Hey give me a $3mil contract. I can go in there and tumble cookies up there just like Gregg!

gregg throws 38 pitches yesterday...go get em again today kid. cubs lose...brilliant. i guess marmol was busy. jeff stevens approves.

look at the bright side: he gets a day-off tomorrow.

Good lord. Terrible f'n loss.

Helluva series there by Gregg and the bullpen....

12 runs in 12.1 innings. Awesome.

Congratulations boys. We've all had our first colonoscopy.

Everything bad happens when the Cubs play the Marlins - unbelievable.

In the role of Steve Bartman, please welcome Kevin Gregg.

Ugh. I need therapy

makes one wonder if gregg is still pitching for the marlins... although, 2 runs in 9 innings just ain't good enough. several missed opportunities; too bad for dempster, he deserved better. on to cincy, where an awful team awaits. thank you, schedule makers.

This loss is all on Lou! Gregg threw 40+ pitches last night, obviously struggled against his old team, and should have been unavailable for this game. He was set to fail even before he got on the mound... Lou is pissing me off with his stupidity more and more with each passing retarded move...

The entire bullpen was burnt. Do you really put Grabow or Marshall, pitching for the thrid day in a row, in a position they aren't used to? Gregg sucked, but Lou really had no other legitimate choice....the bullpen was destroyed with Zambrano's short performance yesterday.

marmol, marshall, guzman for later rather than earlier... there were better options than gregg, imo... this is a deja-vu converstaion with similar shades to the use of stevens back on tuesday. big hurry to use stevens after almost a week off only to not use him since...4 days off. go figure.

You truly must be kidding about Marmol? How in the heck was he a better option after 2 equally horrid performances the previous two days. Gregg at least had not pitched on Friday. Marshall was used the previous two days and hasn't been a closer before...and is used to facing lefties recently. Stevens...I don't know. I don't think putting a minor leaguer in closer situation in a pennant race is better than Gregg there. I could buy Stevens or Marshall over Heimann (although based on numbers, Heilmann was the right pick). But based on the use of the bullpen the previous two days, I really think Gregg was the only legitimate choice.

im pretty sure the main point of contention is gregg threw almost 40 pitches yesterday and was marched out less than 24 hours later to put in an inning. yeah, i'd take marmol over gregg. i'd let guzman close that day if that wasn't an option... i wouldn't be thrilled with marshall/stevens closing, but hey...use them earlier in the game....whatever.

Marmol pitched 23 on Friday and 22 on Saturday...that's a heck of a lot for two straight outings, especially when it was two straight awful outings. I'd take Gregg over Marmol there 100 out of 100 times. Guzman makes more sense...still totally disagree about Marshall.Stevens closing though.

If Lou would just take a gander at Rob G's handy bullpen usage chart, he would see that a better move (after getting 6 great innings out of Dempster) would have been to use Stevens in the 7th, Marshall in the 8th and Guzman as the closer. Samardzija and Gregg should have been unavailable today due to their high pitch counts. I could also see possibly using Heilman again in the 9th, given his success and presumed confidence after closing one out rather easily yesterday. Gregg was obviously laboring last night and how could his confidence not be shot after getting 2 quick Ks and then giving up 3 runs? Bad performance + almost 40 pitches = not available the next day. Lou thinks outside the box when it comes to putting Marshall in left and moving Soriano around the infield like he is Timmy Lupus, so why can't he see that Gregg was not the right choice there?

Maybe Lou thought it was a good idea to get Gregg back on the field as possible after blowing it last night? Doesn't make sense to me, but I'm running out of ideas. Maybe Lou just has no confidence in Stevens (which begs the question, why bother to call him up at all).

What's the free agent market for closers like next year? Gregg is a basket case on the road, Marmol can't throw a strike -- doesn't bode well for September. When Gregg blows saves, it not on bloops or bad luck -- he gives up f'ckin' rockets. Still -- I agree with the earlier comment -- after last night's game and pitch count, I didn't think Lout would use Gregg tonight. Woof -- would have been a big win....

That's why we got B.J. Ryan.

Submitted by ddp33 on Sun, 08/02/2009 - 11:36am.
the cubs currently have just 4 starters on the roster and are carrying an extra bullpen arm... dont you think a pitcher is more likely to go down tues when gorzelanny is activated? stevens or samardzija? depends on how much the bullpen is used in the next few days, but i am more inclined to think a pitcher would go before a 4th outfielder, and one of two defensively sound outfielders on the team. or maybe jeff baker and his .216 avg (w the cubs) and 3 years service time mark inching closer.

by the way, when does miles have to come back? isn't his 20 day dl stint almost up? what are the team's options there?


DDP33: If Aaron Miles spends the full 20 days allowed on a minor league rehab (it's 20 days max for position players and 30 days max for pitchers), his last day at AAA Iowa will be Tuesday. At that point, the Cubs can either reactivate him, release him, trade him, or leave him to rot on the DL until 9/1 (when rosters expand).

He is owed about $700K for the balance of the 2009 season plus another $2.7M for next season, so if they release him and he signs with another club (like STL) for the MLB minimum (prorated about $100K left in 2009 and the full $400K in 2010), the Cubs would be on the hook for about $2.9M over the next two seasons. If they can find another club interested in acquiring him in a trade, the Cubs would still almost certainly have to pay a substantial portion of his remaining salary 2009-10, but at least it might be less than $2.9M.

As for Jeff Baker, the Cubs can outright him without Baker having the right to refuse the assignment up through 8/14. Beginning on 8/15, Baker will have accrued three years of MLB Service Time, and if he were to be outrighted to the minors 8/15 or later he could be a FA either immediately or after the conclusion of the regular season (player option).

If he does get outrighted on or after 8/15 and opts to be a FA immediately, he gives up his 2009 MLB contract and the Cubs would owe him nothing further, so he would likely accept the outright assignment and defer his right to be a FA until after the season (most players do this if they get outrighted during the season).

On the other hand, if Baker is not claimed off waivers and accepts an outright assignment 8/15 or later and defers his right to be a FA until after the end of the regular season but then gets added back to the Cubs 40-man roster before the end of the regular season, he cannot be a FA.

And if Baker were to get outrighted prior to 8/15, he cannot be a FA and the Cubs keep control of him (he would be on the Iowa roster), and if that happens, he would almost certainly get an NRI to ST in 2010 and would be available at Iowa in 2010 if the Cubs wish to bring him up sometime during next season. 

thank you, as always, for the info!

Submitted by The Joe on Sun, 08/02/2009 - 6:53pm.
That's why we got B.J. Ryan


Joe: If the Cubs don't add B. J. Ryan to their 25-man roster by 8/12 he can opt out of his minor league contract and be a FA, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs bring him up much sooner than that. Possibly this week.

Ryan wasn't at Fitch Park very long before the Cubs realized his mechanics didn't need a whole lot of tweaking (a lot of his problems are mental), so his being at Iowa is just a matter of showing he can get outs and throw strikes, and so far (albeit just three appearances) he has gotten outs (3.1 IP, no runs, no hits, 2/3 BB/K), but he has thrown only 50% of his pitches for strikes (48 pitches thrown in three games, only 24 strikes). However, he did throw 12 pitches (eight strikes) in his one perfect inning yesterday. 

Given how Kevin Gregg imploded the past two games, Piniella may want to try a Gregg/Ryan co-closer thing, and if that doesn't work, there is always the fearless Angel Guzman.

Hey Gregg... *middle finger*


file under miscellaneous: Brewers Corey Hart to the DL, he had an emergency appendectomy sunday. Ouchie. on a related note, Kevin Gregg gave me a severe tummy ache today.

Any update on Geo? And, seriously -- what do we do for a closr next year?

Kerry Wood? Michael Wuertz? Carlos Marmol? *groan*

I think Marmol lost his shot at closer...even for next year. Guzman maybe, but you need to start him in that position from the beginning of Spring Training. Ultimately though, our closer will be Mr. Gregg. I can deal.

Guzman is our best and maybe only option. Having followed this team long enough, I think we're all half-expecting him to grab his elbow after a pitch one of these days. Back up the prospect truck for Joe Nathan or Heath Bell, maybe?

Soto is scheduled to rehab in tennessee with the AA team tomorrow

Hurry back Geo...and bring Cashner with you.

Gregg has 5 blown saves...all on the road. Maybe not the best idea to pitch him today in the Cubs house of horrors after throwing a ton of pitches yesterday. They were 90 feet away from one of the most brutal sweeps in memory. One out of three in Florida is better than usual.

The worst thing for me was I knew he'd give up a home run to erase the lead. I just wasn't expecting the second one quite so soon after that. The thing with Gregg is he just isn't a closer. Maybe I'm missing something but what is his out pitch?

To be fair, Kevin Gregg is a lagging economic indicator.

under the radar? AA/Tenn RF Tyler Colvin just set a southern league record with an 11 for 11 consecutive hit streak --- lefty John Gaub (from the DeRosa trade) has an 0.66 ERA in 13 IP at AAA Iowa

Recent comments

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  • Charlie 4 hours 36 min ago (view)

    Lol at Nico getting nominated for riding the bench a lot.


  • crunch 6 hours 35 min ago (view)

    RF Jason Heyward, SS Javier Baez, 2B Nico Hoerner, 1B Anthony Rizzo, C Willson Contreras, and Ps Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills gold glove finalists


  • bradsbeard 10 hours 31 min ago (view)

    Thank you, sir! Sounds like a nice get for the Cubs, and a good project for (what's left of) the new development infrastructure. 


  • Arizona Phil 11 hours 20 min ago (view)

    There have been some holes in the AZIL east-side schedule, with one team canceling games last week (although they are back playing this week) and another canceling game this week due to CoViD-19 issue, so the other teams (like the Cubs) are making up some of the "lost" games with intrasquad and in-house "sim" games. 


  • Arizona Phil 12 hours 15 min ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: From what I have seen of Jacob Wetzel so far (BP, fielding practice, base-running drills, sim games, AZIL games, and yesterday's intasquad game), I would say he looks like a football running back playing baseball in that he has a high motor and plays with a bit of an edge.

    He has a thick body but he also has plus speed (very much like a football running back in that respect), he runs the bases aggressively, makes hard contact, has HR power, a decent arm, maybe can use some work in the outfield as far as tracking balls. 


  • bradsbeard 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    Phil, curious if you've seen enough of Jacob Wetzel to offer an initial scouting report. Just from watching some prep video he looked pretty strong and fairly athletic (HS football player and all). Impressive numbers albeit in community college, but he was a division 1 recruit before that so he's pretty intriguing to me. 


  • KingKongvsGodzilla 2 days 23 hours ago (view)

    AZPhil, thank you for these updates! It's a nice little pick me up during this dumb year. If you have anything to say on Yohendrick Pinango, Joel Machado, Rafael Morel, or Richard Gallardo, I would love to hear it! Thanks again!


  • crunch 3 days 9 hours ago (view)

    jim hickey new nats pitching coach.


  • bradsbeard 4 days 3 hours ago (view)

    Several non-prospects ate up spots as well. Ultimately wish they had given a few more Rivas types a shot there. 


  • tim815 4 days 4 hours ago (view)

    Only 60 spots in SB. Others benefited more from the time.


  • crunch 4 days 7 hours ago (view)

    not phil, but i think everyone is holding off on his potential ceiling until he gains enough weight to not look like someone you want to buy a sandwich every time you see him.

    big upside if his skills can strengthen as he builds his body.

    too early for a solid comp, but i wouldn't feel uncomfortable throwing ian happ's name around (bit better arm than happ, though).


  • bradsbeard 4 days 8 hours ago (view)

    Me too. Thought it was weird he wasn't in South Bend at all. 


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 days 14 hours ago (view)

    I am very, very intrigued by Rivas. If the DH is unfortunately here to stay, he's a prime candidate for that and give Rizzo a day off 1B here and there. If no DH, hopefully he is a passable OF. Big believer in his hitting ability


  • Hagsag 4 days 16 hours ago (view)

    Phil, do you think Chris Morel is the real deal?


  • tim815 5 days 6 hours ago (view)

    Blue and Red DSL instructs rosters. No Brayan Altuve.


  • crunch 5 days 8 hours ago (view)

    yup, they're gonna try.  starts in about a month.