Cubs Notes: April 6

Carlos Zambrano has quality stuff, but the 23-year-old still has issues with his emotions.

Cubs manager Dusty Baker wants Zambrano to walk the fine line of using his emotions positively and not let his emotions get the best of him. Zambrano was getting upset with some of umpire Dale Scott's calls during Monday's 16-6 season-opening victory. Baker took Zambrano out of the game with two outs in the fifth inning, thus denying Zambrano a chance at the victory.

Zambrano had already thrown 106 pitches and the bases were loaded. Before Zambrano left, he argued with Scott and made a gesture with his hands and Scott threw him out of the game. Getting the thumb in the first game of the season won't convince people that he is maturing but Baker argues otherwise.

"It doesn't matter what people's impression of him are," Baker said. "We know. We're with him every day. He's grown up a lot. And he's still going to be a big winner. And he's still very young. And he's still very emotional.

"And that's not all bad. Like I said many times, I would rather have a guy who is overemotional who we can calm down rather than a guy with no emotions and try to inject him with some."

Mark Prior (inflamed right elbow) said he wants to work on locating his fastball and getting more first-pitch strikes when he makes his rehab appearance for Triple-A Iowa at Albuquerque on Thursday. His goal is to throw between 70-80 pitches and return to the team for an April 12 appearance against San Diego.

Michael Barrett caught Greg Maddux on Tuesday night after catching him just one time all of 2003. Baker said that Barrett will catch more of Maddux's games this season. Henry Blanco, who caught Maddux for Atlanta in the past, also figures to catch a chunk of Maddux's starts.

Maddux continued to go 0-for-Arizona. The Hall of Fame hopeful who has 305 victories left Tuesday's game at Bank One Ballpark against Arizona after five innings trailing 5-3. Maddux entered the game 1-6 lifetime against the Diamondbacks and 0-3 at Bank One Ballpark.

Ryan Dempster will make his first start since July 28, 2003 when he faces Arizona on Wednesday night. Dempster underwent "Tommy John" reconstructive surgery to his right elbow in August, 2003 and joined the Cubs the following season. He returned to the mound in August and made 23 relief appearances. Dempster is trying to put a miserable spring training (0-2 9.68 ERA) behind him and could go a long way with a good start in his first game.

Todd Hollandsworth, who missed a huge chunk of the 2004 season after he fouled a pitch off his right shin, hit his first home run since last June 12 when he hit a three-run homer in the second inning against Arizona on Tuesday night. Baker believed that if Hollandsworth stayed healthy, he could be a force this year and named him a starter over Jerry Hairston Jr. and Jason Dubois.


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