There was a time when Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano was one of the better pitchers in the game. While that time has passed, Big Z is still one of the most interesting personalities in the game. His career was really derailed because of his at times uncontrollable temper. Zambrano has had a number of blowups on the field, he has taken out a number of Gatorade coolers, he has called out teammates, and made a ton of bad decisions that have hurt his reputation and makes him a risk to any team that he is a part of.
However last year, Big Z decided to go to anger management to control his temper better and it seems like his time away has helped him find himself and he has started to make positive improvements on the mound again. For the most part, he has kept his emotions in check and he is actually pitching pretty well. His contract is enormous and he’s way overpaid for the kind of production he brings nowadays, but with the Cubs being out of the playoff picture right now, Zambrano could be the kind of pitcher that teams call about when July rolls around, if they feel comfortable with his baggage.
Carlos Zambrano joined WSCR in Chicago on the Danny Mac Show to talk about what changed for him after anger management, how he has had to change his game a bit as he gets older, if he thinks pitchers are still using steroids, how much therapy is helping him, and what he makes of Ken Rosenthal’s report about wanting to get traded.
What changed for him last year when he came back from anger management:
“Yeah. I have thrown a lot of innings and if I want to throw hard I think I have to put something that’s illegal and I don’t want to do that. I’m good with the way I’m pitching right now mixing my pitches and I still have good pitches. What happened last year I just came back and tried not to worry about anything else but what I had do on the mound and what I could control on the mound.”
How he has had to change his game as he has gotten older:
“Yeah. Like the trainer and the strength and conditioning guy for us always say the older you get the more you have to work and that’s true. I’m not 20 anymore and I have to work harder every year and I have to a little extra to be in good shape and get a good feeling in my body. The most important thing is to feel good with your body. Take care of your arm and you feel good. You have to do a little bit extra.”
Whether or not he thinks pitchers are still using steroids:
“Not now. People used to. I don’t think now with all the tests that we have. Sometimes we have three tests in a month. The MLB has been doing a good job with the drug program.”
How much anger management has helped him:
“I wish I could’ve had this therapy four years ago and save things I did last year or two years ago.”
On Ken Rosenthal taking his words out of context and reporting that he wanted to be traded:
“That is a good example that I have changed. I saw that guy and I was inside when they were commentating about what I said. It’s not what I say it’s what somebody asked me, it’s different. I have never done this, but when I call the media and say ‘hey I want to share something with you,’ it’s different than when somebody comes to you. Ken Rosenthal came to me and started asking me ‘hey what do you think if the Cubs come to you and want to trade you?’ I said man if that happens it’s because the Cubs don’t want me here. If somebody comes to you and somebody from the organization says we want to move you, we need something better and fresh, I told him yeah. He said would you sign the no-trade clause? Would you get rid of that? I said yes why not? If they want to trade me it’s because they don’t want me here. That was it.”
Whether or not he regrets saying the things that he has in the past:
“I don’t know man but I will tell you the truth. I don’t like to lose. The things that I do, I don’t want my team to look bad. I just want to win. After the game I was driving to my house and I always take the same street to go home and I saw two fans and their faces and I went man I wish I can, or we can give these guys what they want. (Host: You take that personally huh?) Yeah. I feel bad for those two guys that were walking. The thing that I want to do is give this town what they’re looking for on the North side. They did it in the South side in ’05. They’re always there for us, our ballpark is always crowded, and people want to go to Wrigley. It’s why I say what I say because I want to push this team and I want to do something special for this team. I know that sometimes I do or say things that aren’t right but I’m a human and main thing behind those comments and acts is I want badly to win in Chicago. I don’t want this team to go away or get destructed by anything. Just let’s play baseball and let’s do what we have to do to celebrate a championship in Chicago on the North side.”