Z, Garza speak highly of each other

January, 14, 2011
1/14/11
11:42
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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At the 2010 Cubs Convention, Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza talked about being teammates in 2011.

Garza, acquired from Tampa earlier this month, is a big fan of Zambrano’s. He said he watched Zambrano pitch many times in the Rays’ clubhouse before night games.

Garza was asked what the impact of Zambrano being around him will be.

“[Zambrano’s presence will be a] huge, huge tool,” Garza said. “I just want to know how he throws that sinker. It just kind of bores in on people.”

Zambrano is also an admirer of Garza’s.


“I want to know how he throw that curve,” Zambrano said. “He can teach that to me.”

Zambrano is hoping to continue his strong pitching in 2011, after ending the 2010 season going 8-0 in his last 11 starts.

Zambrano was asked how he was going to continue the magic that he had at the end of the 2010 season.

“I thought a lot about that in the offseason,” Zambrano said. “About my first year. What was the key? Then I thought about my first four years. [I] have a good idea about how to be dominant again.”

Neither Zambrano nor Garza cared much about who will be the team’s starter come Opening Day.

“I think about pitching and doing a good job,” Zambrano said. “I’m not worrying about anything else.

“[The Opening Day starter is] up to [Cubs manager Mike Quade]. Whatever he decides to do, I’m OK with.”

Zambrano has started the past six opening days for the Cubs, which is a team record. He’s only won one of those games.

Colvin fully healed

[+] EnlargeTyler Colvin
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhTyler Colvin will play both first base and outfield this coming season.
Outfielder Tyler Colvin spoke for the first time about being hit by a piece of a broken bat in his chest on Friday in the final weeks of the 2010 season.

Colvin needed a month of recovery time after his lung collapsed due to the puncture wound.

The Cubs’ second-year outfielder was asked if he had a hard time watching the replay.

“At first I did,” Colvin said. “It’s one of those spots, you’re at third base, then I saw the broken bat. You never think it’s coming at you. I was looking at the ball. The bat hit me and I was surprised it happened.”

Colvin is completely healed and ready to start a new season.

“I’ll go back the same way this year and see what happens,” he said. “I’ll see how the pitchers come after me. I know them better going into this season as well.”

Colvin will be getting playing time at both outfield and first base. Although he wasn’t talking about it on Friday, the Cubs expect Colvin, along with Jeff Baker, to back up for starter Carlos Pena at first. Colvin took some ground balls at first base before games late in the 2010 season, but he hasn’t played the position since his sophomore year of college.

As for Pena, he’ll spend a week with Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo later in the month. The personal minicamp is aimed to help him get his swing and hitting approach back together. Pena had career lows in batting average the past two seasons. He bottomed out in 2010 by hitting .196.

Pena first worked with Jaramillo when he was coming through the Texas organization in the late 1990s.

Gorzelanny remains a hot commodity

I talked to Tom Gorzelanny at the Convention. He told me he and his family are sick of me writing about the teams that were contacting the Cubs about his availability. The truth of the matter is that they have.

With a glut of starters vying for the Cubs’ fourth and fifth rotation spots, the Cubs have heard from numerous teams about Gorzelanny’s availability. The Mets, Orioles and Nationals all have interest in the Oak Lawn native. Gorzelanny will make close to $2 million in arbitration in 2011. That’s not a big price to pay for a solid fourth starter.

If Gorzelanny is traded, the Cubs have discussed moving up left James Russell from the bullpen to compete for a rotation spot. Russell pitched exclusively out of the bullpen, but had been a starter in the minors before his promotion last season.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Starlin Castro
BA HR RBI R
.292 14 65 58
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 32
RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
WJ. Arrieta 10
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167