Are Cubs Out of Control?
Zambrano goes nuts (GETTY/JONATHAN DANIEL)
Zambrano goes nuts (GETTY/JONATHAN DANIEL)

Posted May 28, 2009


Are the Cubs out of control? Major League Baseball may be wondering that after another on-field explosion.

On Wednesday, it was starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano getting kicked out of the game and then throwing a fit (among other things).

After uncorking a wild pitch in the seventh inning, Zambrano covered the plate and thought he had tagged out Pirates runner Nyjer Morgan. Umpire Mark Carlson disagreed. Zambrano argued the call and was ejected after the two men made light contact.

After that, Zambrano pretended to throw Carlson out of the game. He heaved the ball into left-center field, tossed his glove against the dugout fence and then beat up the Gatorade fountain in the dugout with a bat.


(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)


(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)


(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)


The Cubs will assert to MLB that Carlson stepped into Zambrano.

"I will wait for MLB to see the replay," Zambrano said.

"If you look at the film, the umpire sort of walks in a little bit," manager Lou Piniella said. "But the league makes that determination. You have to be more careful than that."

Already this season, right fielder Milton Bradley was hit with a two-game suspension (reduced to one) for a confrontation with umpire Larry Vanover. Pitcher Ted Lilly faces possible disciplinary action for leaping out of the dugout this week to argue balls and strikes with umpire Bob Davidson during a game Lilly wasn't even pitching.

"No, we can't have that, and we'll take care of it," Piniella said.

CUBS 5, PIRATES 2: CF Reed Johnson hit a solo homer in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie. Zambrano worked 6 1/3 innings of seven-hit, two run (one earned) ball before getting ejected. Minor league call-ups Andres Blanco and Jake Fox doubled in the three-run eighth.

NEWS AND NOTES

--RHP Carlos Marmol returned to the team Wednesday after his wife gave birth to a daughter. Marmol earned his first victory of the season with one inning of relief. He has made four straight scoreless outings.

--RHP Angel Guzman pitched a scoreless two-thirds of an inning Wednesday to extend his scoreless streak to 5 1/3 innings. He may take over for struggling RHP Aaron Heilman in the crucial seventh-inning role.

--The Cubs made a flurry of roster moves. They put INF Aaron Miles on the 15-day DL with a strained right shoulder. They also optioned LHP Neal Cotts and INF Bobby Scales to Class AAA Iowa. They recalled Fox from Iowa and purchased the contracts of LHP Jason Waddell and Blanco from Iowa. Fox was batting .423 with 17 homers and 50 RBIs to lead the Pacific Coast League and minor league baseball in the Triple Crown. Fox doubled home a run as a pinch hitter Wednesday, but Piniella isn't sure about starting him, ostensibly because of Fox's poor defense.

--Scales may have to come back because INF Ryan Freel may have to go on the disabled list after straining his left hamstring. Freel came out of the game in the fifth inning. "If Scales isn't too far, he can take a taxi back from the airport," Piniella said.

--Waddell, promoted from Class AAA Iowa on Wednesday, was a non-roster invitee to spring training, and the Cubs said he opened some eyes then. The 27-year-old lefty has never pitched in the big leagues. At Iowa, he was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA.

--Blanco, promoted from Class AAA Iowa on Wednesday, started at second base, but he played exclusively at short for Iowa. Piniella said the Cubs got him to give SS Ryan Theriot a breather now and then. Theriot was 3-for-3. He was 7-for-11 against the Pirates after suffering through a slump.

MINOR LEAGUES

SACRAMENTO 3, IOWA 1 – GAME 1 (CLASS AAA)

At Des Moines, the Cubs were held to four hits in the seven-inning loss Wednesday. 3B Nate Spears (2-for-3) paced the offense with two hits, including his seventh double. RHP Mitch Atkins (2-6) suffered his sixth loss, the most in the Cubs’ system. He allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings, striking out eight batters and walking three. Atkins leads the Cubs’ system in strikeouts with 50 in 54 innings.

IOWA 2, SACRAMENTO 0 – GAME 2

The Cubs (23-22) held the River Cats to four hits in the seven-inning victory. RHP Kevin Hart made his second start and tossed four scoreless innings, allowing three hits. He struck out five batters and walked two. RHP Justin Berg (1-0), recently activated from the disabled list, tossed one scoreless inning for his first win. RHP Blake Parker pitched a scoreless seventh inning for his third save. He has not allowed a run over his last 11 innings dating back to April 28 at Class AA Tennessee.

HUNTSVILLE 4, TENNESSEE 2 (CLASS AA)

At Sevierville, the Smokies (21-24) out-hit the Stars, 8-3, in the loss Wednesday. 1B Russ Canzler (2-for-4, RBI) and RF Jim Adduci (2-for-4, RBI) paced the offense with two hits apiece. RHP Hung-Wen Chen (2-4) started and suffered the loss, allowing three earned runs and three hits in seven innings. He struck out two batters and walked two.

PALM BEACH 6, DAYTONA 0 (CLASS HIGH-A)

At Jupiter, Fla., the Cubs (19-21) were one-hit in the loss Wednesday. LF Tyler Colvin (1-for-4) recorded the team’s only hit with his second triple. RHP Ryan Searle (3-3) started and suffered the loss, allowing all six runs and seven hits – both season-highs – in 3 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out one.

PEORIA 3, CLINTON 2 (CLASS-A)

At Peoria, the Chiefs (24-20) rallied for two runs in their last at-bat en route to the victory Wednesday. DH Josh Harrison (1-for-2) scored the tying run on a throwing error and 3B Josh Vitters (2-for-3) scored the winning run on a wild pitch.

“We came out of it smelling like a rose, but we need to execute better than that,” Chiefs manager Marty Pevey said of the game.

Peoria collected six hits with Vitters pacing the offense with two hits. The top Cubs prospect reached base in all four plate appearances and has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games, batting .406 in May and .365 for the season.

Harrison batted in the No. 2 hole for the first time since May 3. That was because OF Francisco Guzman was promoted to Peoria from extended spring training earlier in the day and batted in the leadoff spot.

“We really don’t have a leadoff hitter,” Pevey explained. “Harrison has done a great job, don’t get me wrong. As far as he hits the ball, he is perfectly suited to hit second.”

Guzman, a 21-year-old outfielder, was 0-for-4 in his Peoria debut. He previously played in six games at Daytona this season, batting .263 (5-for-19) with three walks.

“He (was) probably a little nervous, and he traveled all day,” Pevey said of Guzman. “Right now he’s trying to do a lot. He’ll be all right.

“He will play a lot of center field, hit ninth in the lineup (and) sometimes first. I don’t want to put a whole lot of pressure on him. He can fly. Fly.”

Guzman, signed by the Cubs out of the Dominican Republic in March, 2008, stole 18 bases in 26 attempts for the club’s Dominican Summer League affiliate a season ago, where he batted .299 with two doubles and three triples in 57 games.

RHP Alberto Cabrera (4-2) picked up his fourth win, tossing four scoreless innings in relief. RHP Christopher Archer stated and received a no-decision, allowing two runs (none earned) and three hits in five innings. He struck out a season-high nine batters and walked one.

InsideTheIvy.com correspondent Adam Franey in Peoria contributed reporting.

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