Results tagged ‘ Zambrano ’

Spotlight on reading

spotlight on reading.jpg

Some of the best big-league moments are the ones that involve the littlest people. Big Z, meet the third grade.

Or more precisely: Carlos, te presento el tercer grado.

A group of about 20 bilingual students from Chicago’s Inter-American Elementary Magnet School took a field trip to Wrigley Field last week to attend a book reading by Carlos Zambrano himself. Produced by the Cubs’ Community Affairs department and Comcast Spotlight, these readings are taped and available on-demand for Comcast cable subscribers to play for their children before bedtime. You currently can check out English-language readings by Ryan Theriot, Lou Piniella and Ted Lilly, recorded during the off-season Cubs Caravan.

This reading was ground-breaking, however, for being in Spanish. It’s part of a larger Spanish-language initiative by the Cubs, which includes the two-year-old Web site loscubs.com.

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Going for .500

Yesterday’s comeback was a good start for the team, particularly the lineup against a good pitcher in Houston’s Roy Oswalt. Today, Henry Blanco makes his first appearance, giving Geovany Soto a rest.

Soriano, LF

Johnson, CF

Lee, 1B

Ramirez, 3B

Fukudome, RF

DeRosa, 2B

Theriot, SS

Blanco, C

Zambrano, RHP

Kid K

Kerry Wood saved his second game of the season with yesterday’s 1-2-3 inning. His slider kept hitters off balance, and his fastball was moving very well.

In his 36 career appearances as a reliever, Kerry has a 3.43 ERA and has held opponents to a .181 batting average.

Evolving lineup

Lou explained this morning his rationale for moving the catcher to the eight hole in the lineup: He wants to have some speed in front of the catcher so that he can try to get runners in scoring position for his backstops.

Lou thinks carefully about his lineups, and as he said, if something’s not working, he’s going to change things around a little bit.

“Z” for Zero

Carlos Zambrano holds a 19.2 scoreless-innings streak. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last three starts, dating back to Sept. 28 in Cincinnati (6.0 IP).

He’s the first Cubs pitcher to go three starts without yielding a run since Ken Holtzman accomplished the feat in both 1968 and ’69.

Workout day

“All right, guys, here we come!”

It was none other than Carlos Zambrano who led the players’ charge out of the clubhouse Sunday afternoon.

For many of the players, it was their first time seeing Wrigley Field’s redone playing surface. Aramis Ramírez and Ronny Cedeño took notice of the yellow-painted CBOE on the brick facing the leftfield bullpen box. It will be one of the handful of changes fans will notice on their first trip to the ballpark this season.

Soon, Aramis’ attention turned to testing the new dirt. He had a few nervous chuckles when the baseball he was bouncing … didn’t bounce. The players were told that the infield will be soft while it hasn’t completely thawed. Bench coach Alan Trammell told his infielders that he wanted to discover all the new quirks. Until then, they’ll be wise to stay low on groundballs.

The other thing the players noticed from the outset was how short the infield grass is compared to Wrigley Field’s historically thick diamond. The hitters seemed fond of the faster surface–but the pitchers were goading the grounds crew to grow it out anew.

And, yes, the flattened field does finally allow the manager to see the rightfielder’s shoes from the dugout.

One more tune-up

As over 100 members of the media milled about on a day resembling winter more than spring, the question arose as to why the Cubs schedule a team workout. Surely seven weeks of spring training will matter more than this one day, right?

Assistant general manager Randy Bush explained that the team uses this day to adjust to the cold weather. Swinging a bat and throwing a ball feels different in frigid Chicago than it did a couple days ago in 80-degree Arizona.

When asked whether opening in a dome or warm climate should be MLB policy, Derrek Lee said that they would appreciate the nice weather but opening at home is about as exciting as it gets. I’m sure the fans are ready to go, too.

Ready to go

The media took notice when Kosuke Fukudome went yard in his first round of BP … Zambrano, also batting left-handed, followed him with three home runs of his own.

After running in from shagging flyballs, Alfonso Soriano stayed at shortstop to take a couple groundballs. He dropped the first, but immediately yelled, “Same guy! Same guy!” He started the double play on the second ball hit to him.

– Sean Ahmed

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