Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Chicago Cubs [Print without images]

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Soriano glad Zambrano getting help

By Bruce Levine

Although the Carlos Zambrano situation appears to be in the Cubs’ rear-view mirror, Alfonso Soriano, one of the team leaders, wasn’t shy about sharing his thoughts on Tuesday.

“We don’t want to think about Zambrano right now,” Soriano said. “We have a lot of things to do and need to focus because we’re not playing good right now. That’s the main thing for everyone in this clubhouse -- find a way to play better.”

Soriano has tried to contact Zambrano via telephone over the last few days, without much success.

“I tried [again] yesterday [calling]. Nothing,” Soriano said. “Maybe in a couple of days… I want to call [him] private.”

Soriano, like many of his teammates, is relieved that the fiery Cubs pitcher is getting some psychological help before returning to the team.

“Yes, I’m very happy,” Soriano said. “He can have somebody to help him. [I’m] hoping when he comes back he can be 100% and help the team win.”

I asked Soriano if the lack of production from Zambrano was really the key element to the overall problem with his loss of composure.

“I don’t believe that,” Soriano said. “Everybody is a human being. Everybody makes mistakes, but you have to be the same guy no matter what problems you have.”

Probing Soriano a little further, I asked if he previously thought Zambrano had problems, or if he thought Zambrano just had a unique type of personality.

“I never [thought] he had problems,” Soriano said. “When I [saw] him he seemed like a normal guy. But sometimes he can not control his emotion. That’s his problem. After that, he’s a great guy.”

Of all the Cubs players, Soriano by far has been the most vocal about Zambrano’s problems over the past five days.

--The Cubs have had nine rookies on the roster in 2010, seven pitchers and two position players.

--The Cubs are 2-10 vs. Pittsburgh in their last 12 games, including 2-8 in 2010.

--As predicted on Monday night, the Cubs recalled LHP James Russell and RHP Jeff Stevens from Triple-A Iowa. This is the second stint with the team for both pitchers.

The roster spots were opened up with John Grabow going on the disabled list with a left knee sprain and Zambrano’s addition to the restricted list.

Manager Lou Piniella said that Grabow may miss up to a month after he reinjured his left knee in the seventh inning of Monday night’s game. Grabow was previously on the DL from May 31-June 15 with the same left knee sprain. Grabow is 1-3 with a 7.36 ERA in 28 relief appearances this season. Zambrano is 3-6 with a 5.66 ERA in 22 appearances (9 starts).