Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

April 2009 Archives

Heading for 3rd, chasing history

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Is it time to start batting Carlos Zambrano higher in the order?

OK, I'll get off that one. But it's certainly time to stop wondering where his hitting went this season after an 0-for-9, five-strikeout start to his season.

``I told him a week ago, `You're not swinging the bat like you were last year,' '' manager Lou Piniella said. ``He said, `It's early.' ''

Apparently, it's not early anymore for Zambrano, who singled in the third, doubled off the yellow strip at the top of the wall in right-center in the fifth and homered just over the wall in left in the seventh during the Cubs' 11-3 rout of Arizona tonight.

Hey, Milton, let's talk

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If Milton Bradley has a problem with the story I wrote for the April 15 editions of the Sun-Times about the reputation at Wrigley for racial taunting and his perspective on that, then he should tell me about it, rip me if he wants, tell me what he thinks was unfair or inaccurate. We can keep the talk private, or he can make it as public as he wants.

But he should probably start by reading the story - something he said today he didn't do.

Yet that didn't stop him from implying this afternoon that it was a big part of what was behind his homestand-long blanket media boycott that ended today only after a disjointed attempt by me and a few other reporters to clear the air with him after the game - and Bradley's sudden decision to pull aside Carrie Muskat, the Cubs' website beat reporter for a one-on-one venting session (quotes from are below).

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

A steroid cloud is once again hovering over the first-place Cardinals. A New York Times report Sunday detailed third baseman Troy Glaus' alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. For their part, the Cardinals are calling this a dead issue.

The Cardinals clearly are more focused on the present than the past. And in the present, they are the surprise leaders in the Central. Cardinals pitchers are leading the league with a 2.63 ERA and the Cardinals' offense is tied for second with 40 runs. The Cardinals' bullpen was supposed to be a source of concern, but Cardinals relievers have issued the fewest walks in the NL with four in 20 innings. Cubs relievers are tied with the Reds and Braves for the league-league with 15 in 21 innings.

Thanks to a tweak to his delivery, former Cub Todd Wellemeyer kept the Diamondbacks off-balance Monday night.

Speaking of walks, they once again got the best -- or worst -- of a Brewers pitcher in a 7-6 loss to the Reds.

Meanwhile, the Reds are working to land the 2013 All-Star Game. This year's All-Star Game will be played in St. Louis.

Catching Hell

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As if the Cubs didn't have enough problems with Geo Soto's sore shoulder in the early going, the only other catcher on the roster, Koyie Hill, is playing tonight with a toe so swollen and painful a part of his shoe has been cut away to alleviate the pressure.

The Cubs set their 25-man roster today by releasing right-hander Chad Gaudin and sending Jeff Samardzija to Class AAA Iowa. That means right-handers Angel Guzman and David Patton earned the last two spots in the bullpen.

General manager Jim Hendry had been trying to work a trade for Gaudin, who is owed $2 million this season, but couldn't find any takers before the 2 p.m. deadline to have his roster set.

Patton, a Rule 5 pick up from the Colorado Rockies, was the surprise addition to the staff. Samardzija will return to Iowa to stretch out as an insurance policy for the Cubs' rotation.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

It's no secret Cubs general manager Jim Hendry will work hard to trade out-of-options reliever Chad Gaudin before the end of the weekend and it looks as if the Colorado Rockies have strong interest in the disappointing right-hander. In this same Denver Post story, the Milwaukee Brewers are said to be interested in reacquiring speedy outfielder Scott Podsednik, who will be released by the Rockies.

Put former Cubs manager Dusty Baker at the top of the list of baseball people who don't believe recently released slugger Gary Sheffield is done. Baker has a meeting planned for today with Sheffield, who is sitting at 499 career home runs. Apparently, Baker believes Sheffield could fill a void in left field, though he must accept part-time status as part of the deal. Sheffield is worth the risk, even at 40. He comes at the major-league minimum, with the Detroit Tigers on the hook for the remainder of his $14 million salary in 2009.

Hope is fading that St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Troy Glaus can bounce back from recent surgery near his shoulder. Now it looks as if the Cardinals are planning to be without Glaus until the All-Star break.

The Houston Astros, who play host to the Cubs on Opening Day, are excited about new acquisition Jeff Keppinger, who will platoon at third base with Geoff Blum. Keppinger, who was acquired this week from the Reds, hit .360 against lefties last season.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2009 is the previous archive.

May 2009 is the next archive.

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