No disrespect? Cubs pick up Zambrano


No disrespect? Cubs pick up Zambrano

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Posted: 10:24 p.m. Updated: 11:48 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney

HOUSTON Carlos Zambrano already started walking several steps off the mound before Mike Quade could get there. It looked like a power play, the pitcher handing his manager the ball on the infield grass on the way to the dugout.

This is what makes Zambrano so unpredictable. This is what tests the organizations patience. It was all there for everyone to see on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park. Except Zambrano, who didnt even realize what he just did.

Zambrano was so caught up in an inning spinning out of control that Kerry Wood had to point it out to him. Zambrano watched the replay and felt compelled to go over to the Cubs managers office and apologize to Quade after a 9-5 win over the Houston Astros.

I didnt mean that, Zambrano said. Believe me, the last thing that I want to do this year is disrespect the manager.

Zambrano showed his entire range in the sixth inning. It started with the home run he crushed off the faade in left-center field, some 412 feet away. He pointed up at the black sky as he crossed home plate.

To that point, Zambrano had thrown five scoreless innings. His teammates had given him a 5-0 lead before he threw a single pitch.

Yet when Brett Wallace singled a 3-2 pitch into left field to make it a 6-2 game, Zambrano immediately gestured toward home plate, kicked at the rubber and snapped the ball when it was flipped back to him.

Once Matt Downs hammered another 3-2 pitch beyond the high wall in left-center field for a two-run homer, the Astros had sliced the deficit to one. Zambrano walked one more batter and that was it.

During Game 161 last season in Houston, Zambrano turned away from Quade when he handed the ball to his manager and sulked off the mound. Quade defused that situation and did the same late Wednesday night.

I didnt get there quick enough, Quade said. He was ready to go and I should have been sprinting there. Just hand me the ball. Just dont drop the ball. (I) dont really care. I was hoping he wouldnt run me over.

Look, he was upset. I was upset. Everybodys upset. Lets just have a nice exchange. Lets not fumble the handoff and itll be ok. Lets hope were better next time.

Within the past week, Zambrano suddenly looked more reliable with the Cubs rotation down two pitchers. The Cubs dont yet know what theyre going to do with the fifth starters slot next week.

Jeff Samardzija, who threw three innings out of the bullpen on Tuesday night, became an option for a spot start, and so is James Russell or someone outside the 25-man roster. But long-term the Cubs see Samardzija as a reliever and dont want to mess too much with his role yet again.

Given all that uncertainty, the Cubs will need Zambrano (2-0, 6.11 ERA) to keep everything in check.

Zambrano was gracious when Quade named Ryan Dempster the Opening Day starter and didnt take it as a snub.

The past few days you could see Zambrano salsa dancing in the clubhouse or cracking up on the couch watching Eastbound & Down with his teammates.

Zambrano was almost becoming boring in his postgame news conferences. Whether or not you believe in a new Zambrano, he quickly took responsibility for his actions.

Q is a great guy, Zambrano said. It was my mistake. I think next time I will wait (longer). In fact, next time I will wait for the reliever, too. Theres no problem.

The Cubs (6-6) have a strong sense of team and would probably want you to focus elsewhere. The top of the lineup looks like it could be here to stay. Starlin Castro (.389) and Darwin Barney (.345) combined for eight hits and seven runs this series.

Alfonso Soriano hit his fourth home run of the season. Jeff Baker continues to mash left-handed pitching. The bullpen Marcos Mateo, Sean Marshall, Wood and Carlos Marmol did not allow a run or a hit in 3 13 innings.

The club picked up Z, Quade said.

Box Score

Patrick Mooney is's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Could David Ross be Cubs' next bench coach?

Could David Ross be Cubs' next bench coach?

LAS VEGAS — Who would've thought Dec. 23, 2014, would go down as a day that changed the course of Cubs history as we know it?

That's the day the Cubs officially signed David Ross, otherwise known as "Grandpa Rossy" to a large contigent of the fanbase.

Ross hasn't put on a Cubs uniform since Game 7 of the World Series, but the two years in between then and now have been a roller coaster for the popular backup catcher.

Want to know how much Ross still resonates with the fanbase? Check out Twitter or Facebook/Instagram comment sections anytime there's a mention of Ross.

Like this week, for example, when Ross was referenced Monday by Cubs GM Jed Hoyer as the perfect example of leadership the front office hopes to find from a veteran position player this winter. Then, news came out Tuesday evening that Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde would be leaving his post to take over as manager of the Baltimore Orioles, prompting many to speculate — or hope, in the case of many fans — that Ross could be Hyde's replacement as Joe Maddon's right-hand man.

So...would Ross be an option for Cubs bench coach now that there's an opening?

The short answer is — yes, absolutely. The Cubs would love to be able to make that move, but it's not just about them.

Ross has only been out of the game for two years and in that time, he's been very busy with Dancing with the Stars, writing a book, working as a broadcaster/analyst for ESPN and also serving as a special assistant in Theo Epstein's front office.

But none of that would preclude Ross from taking a role in uniform as an official member of the coaching staff.

It's a question of whether he'd want to do it. He still has a young family and part of the reason he didn't join the Cubs coaching staff a year ago was because he is enjoying time at home, being a dad and husband. 

Serving as a coach on a big-league roster is a major time commitment that would require Ross to be away from his family for an incredible amount of time. Most coaches actually spend more time at the field and away from their families than players and that's especially true nowadays with all the gameplanning and strategy and video work.

It's understandable that Ross — who turns 42 in March — would still want another year or more to spend with his young family before beginning the next step of his career, even though there's no question he has all the makings of a future coach or manager.

Even if Ross decides to stay out of uniform for at least another season, the Cubs have already been talking with him about being around the team more to help guide these young players that look up to him so much.

"I think his mere presence is helpful," Jed Hoyer said Monday before any news of Hyde's departure came out. "Those guys trust him. The timing of David Ross being on this team was perfect in that those guys were 21 and 22, so he had such an influence on those guys. 

"I still think they look up to him, so when he's around, they'll gravitate towards him and talk to him. We couldn't hire anyone from the outside that could have that kind of influence. I think it's more about that. 

"There's probably some natural reaction when he's around where it feels like it did in '15 and '16 a little bit. But yeah, having him around is really valuable and I think he will have a big impact."

Orioles reportedly will hire Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde as manager


Orioles reportedly will hire Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde as manager

The Cubs have already seen plenty of changes to the coaching staff this offseason and one more is coming.

According to reports, the Orioles are going to name Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde as the team's next manager.

Hyde has been with the Cubs since the 2014 season when he joined as bench coach. He was the Cubs' first base coach from 2015-2017 before moving back to bench coach in 2018. He had been mentioned regarding managing vacancies throughout the offseason and it sounds like the Orioles will be the one to make the move.

Hyde's departure comes after hitting coach Chili Davis was fired and pitching coach Jim Hickey left the team.


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