Bricks & Ivy: Big Z Turns Into 'The Situation'


Bricks & Ivy: Big Z Turns Into 'The Situation'

Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010
12:50PMBy Luke Stuckmeyer
CSNChicago.comI'm starting to get get worried that Snooki is going to show up in Mesa.Carlos Zambrano talked with the media for the first time in Mesa on Thursday, and the Cubs ace has dropped more than 20 pounds in the off season. Z is down to a slim 260 poundswith about fivemore pounds before he hits that opening day goal of 255 pounds. He claims its the best shape he's been in since his first season with the Cubs when he weighed under 200 pounds as a kid. For a second I thought he might lift up his shirt and show us "The Situation." He may have the abs, but I doubt he can mix music like Pauly D.For those of you who haven't been damaged by Jersey Shore, the Zambrano makeover includes a new attitude and a smile. He says that he's made peace with the Gatorade machine and the umpires. He's going to stay positive. "YOU'LL SEE, YOU'LL SEE," He promised. As for Geovany Soto's weight loss, Z joked that he "thought Soto was a fan asking for his autograph."For more on this story, check back later. I'll have a live report at 6:30 on SportsNite. We'll be live all week long and have stories at 6:30, 10:00, 10:30, and midnight. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @CSNStucky!Time to go lather on the sunscreen and watch "The Situation" do his thing at Fitch Park.Luke Stuckmeyer covers the Cubs for Comcast SportsNet. Follow him on Twitter @CSNStucky for the latest from Cubs camp in Mesa.

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

With Ben Zobrist sidelined by sore wrist, Cubs move Ian Happ to second base

LOS ANGELES – The Cubs drafted and developed Ian Happ with the idea of turning him into a Ben Zobrist-type player who would move quickly through the farm system and surface as a versatile big-league contributor and/or legitimate trade chip.

With Zobrist sidelined because of a sore left wrist, the Cubs got their first look at Happ playing second base in The Show during Saturday’s 5-0 loss at Dodger Stadium. That kind of depth – plugging in a 2015 first-round pick while a World Series MVP rests – should ultimately propel the Cubs over the course of a 162-game season.

Even as the Cubs stutter-step through a 25-23 start, there are enough choices for the best defensive second baseman on the team and a National League Championship Series co-MVP (Javier Baez) to sit on the bench.

“We know that the talent’s there,” Zobrist said. “It’s not like having any one or two guys out of the lineup is a big drop-off for us because of the talent that’s there. And we know that just because we have a lot of young players doesn’t mean that they’re not extremely capable of doing the job as well.”

Zobrist – who’s reached base in 23 straight games and emerged as a new leadoff option with Kyle Schwarber struggling – felt something on an awkward swing in the first inning of Friday’s 4-0 loss to the Dodgers. Zobrist played through it that night and called it a “day-to-day thing” that didn’t require an MRI.

[MORE: Is Joe Maddon turning Kyle Schwarber into a platoon player?

Facing Clayton Kershaw on Sunday after back-to-back shutouts will be a game-time decision.

“It’s tough,” Zobrist said. “We just haven’t strung together enough quality at-bats to score runs the last two games. It’s not just because of us. They’ve pitched well. Their pitchers are pretty hot right now. They’ve spotted up. They’ve gotten early strikes where they needed to and then gone to work pretty well on us.

“The task doesn’t get any easier tomorrow with Kershaw. We just got to keep trying to chip away.”

Preview: Cubs look to avoid getting swept by Dodgers today on CSN


Preview: Cubs look to avoid getting swept by Dodgers today on CSN

The Cubs take on the Los Angeles Dodgers today, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on and the NBC Sports App.

Coverage begins with Cubs Pregame Live at 2:30 p.m. Then catch first pitch with Len Kasper and Ryan Dempster. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jon Lester (3-2, 3.19 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.01 ERA)

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