All smiles, Zambrano says he's 'cured'


All smiles, Zambrano says he's 'cured'

Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011
4:53 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney

MESA, Ariz. Carlos Zambrano stopped attending anger-management counseling last October. He says he learned something from the experience.

Im cured, Zambrano said Tuesday. I got approval from the psychologist that I can be by myself.

Zambrano could barely get the line out before bursting into laughter along with the group of reporters surrounding his locker at Fitch Park.

They didnt get an explosive reaction the day after Cubs manager Mike Quade called Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza into his office to inform them that Dempster would start Opening Day.

Instead, Zambrano cracked jokes with the media and let them know that Quade handled it professionally. Zambrano loved the symbolism of being the ace, the starter on Opening Day when everyones watching. After getting the assignment for a franchise-record six straight seasons, he says he accepts the new order.

Nothing lasts forever, Zambrano said. (Dempsters) been pitching good much better than I did the last two years and he deserves it. (I) understand that. Theres nothing I can do about it (except) just keep working hard.

Zambrano will turn 30 in June and has two more years guaranteed on his 91.5 million contract. He admitted that he probably wouldnt have handled the news as well a few years ago.

The Cubs are hoping that Zambrano hit bottom last June, when a dugout dispute at U.S. Cellular Field with Derrek Lee led to his suspension and treatment for his anger issues. A player known for attacking Gatorade coolers went after hitters and ended the season by going 8-0 with a 1.41 ERA in his final 11 starts.

What makes Zambrano so interesting is that you dont know what hes going to say or do next.

Zambranos not overly concerned with his image. Clearly, he has a good sense of humor. Hes also a family man dedicated to his charities. He believes he doesnt have to change his entire personality. Its just a matter of isolating the issue.

The problem that I have to solve is when I get upset on the field, Zambrano said. My problem is after I cross those two lines. And whether somebody makes an error or whether I make an error, thats my problem. I have to focus on that this year.

But off the field I think I consider myself a nice guy. People can talk about that. I dont like to talk about myself.

Maybe Zambrano is saying all the right things and telling Cubs fans what they hope to hear. Check back April 2 to see what type of pitcher shows up at Wrigley Field. He thinks the counseling sessions had an impact.

Yes, it did work, Zambrano said. Believe me that was an experience I can talk (about) through the years. Maybe in the future I can be a pitching coach or whatever 20 years from now. I can speak to the young kids about what I went through or what happened in my career.

The follow-up question drew more laughter: Do you really see yourself coaching in the future?

I dont know, Zambrano answered with a smile. I just said that.

PatrickMooney is's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Indians announce starting rotation for World Series vs. Cubs

Indians announce starting rotation for World Series vs. Cubs

The Cleveland Indians announced their starting pitchers for the first three games of the World Series against the Cubs.

To no one's surprise, Corey Kluber will get the start for Game 1 on Tuesday. Kluber has been the team's best starter all season. In three starts this postseason, he is 2-1 with a 0.98 ERA and 20 strikeouts.

Trevor Bauer and Josh Timlin will get the nod for Games 2 and 3. Bauer has only made two starts this October, but his last one in Game 3 of the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jayes was cut short after 21 pitches due to a finger injury.

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

After those three, the order has yet to be determined.

Indians manager Terry Francona did say to Zack Meisel of that Kluber "could be an option" to start Game 4 on three days rest, which he did in the ALCS.

PHOTOS: Cubs leave Wrigley Field and head to Cleveland

PHOTOS: Cubs leave Wrigley Field and head to Cleveland

Less than 24 hours after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, the Cubs are quickly shifting their focus to their World Series opponent.

The Cubs went to Wrigley Field on Sunday afternoon to gather their things and shortly after departed to Cleveland to prep for their World Series matchup against the Indians.

Cleveland will host Games 1 and 2 on the main stage, with the first game beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. CT. on Fox.

Check out some pictures and videos below of the National League Champions' departure:

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]