Zambrano Anything But Lazy in Rehab Start

PEORIA - Peoria has become Rehab Central for the Chicago Cubs this season. Carlos Zambrano became the latest member of the Cubs' 25-man roster to make a rehab start for the Chiefs this year at O'Brien Field on Thursday.

"I felt good and I liked what I did today," Zambrano said. "Tuesday, everything is back to normal."

Zambrano used 76 pitches, 54 strikes to hold the Clinton Lumberkings scoreless for five innings, over which he walked no one, scattered four hits and struck out five.

Zambrano ran into some trouble in the in the top of the third when Lumberkings catcher Travis Howell singled to right field to start the inning off. After Daniel Carroll popped out to shortstop D. J. LeMahieu, Howell would advance to third base on a Kyle Seager double.

With runners on second and third with one out, Zambrano bore down and retired the next two batters by strikeout.

"He did a good job in that situation," Chiefs manager Marty Pevey said. "I was ready to concede a run, but he was able to get out of the jam himself."

"My slider was a little flat today," Zambrano said. "I just had to work on my game today and settle back in and do the best I can do to make my rehab good. I was working on pitches and having fun. I was able to command my split-finger and slider for a strike and was able to do that tonight when I needed it."

After the Cubs' ace finished, he addressed the media regarding comments he made about himself recently, when he called himself "lazy" with his abdominal workouts.

"I learned that I'm not 18 anymore. I learned that the older I get, the harder I have to work," Zambrano said. "Not that I don't work; I do my work, but I need to work harder. For me, things happen once. I never get hurt too often.

"There's always a first time for players. My first injury this season was my hamstring and that was new to me. I have to work on my hamstring, which has been going well. If things happen twice, it's because guys didn't do their job the first time."

But Zambrano was able to joke about his laziness.

"My lady did say that I was lazy," Zambrano said. "I'm going to see her Tuesday. I want to be without a shirt so she can see what type of body I have. Lazy people don't have this type of body. I'm going to show her my guns so she can't call me lazy again."

Zambrano also expressed his feelings of being put on the disabled list.

"Every time I go on the DL, I don't want to go to the DL," Zambrano said. "I hate to be on the DL. Sometimes you have to protect your career. The Cubs are trying to protect my career and do what's best for me."

Zambrano is anxious to rejoin the big league club. Since going on the DL on August 8, he has been chomping at the bit to return to the game he loves.

"It's been tough (sitting out)," Zambrano said. "I want to be in L.A. right now playing against a good team. I want to help this team, believe me."

Zambrano was able to find a positive in being put on the DL, though: he has been able to step back from the pressures of pitching in the major leagues and reflect on his actions lately.

"There is a scout from Venezuela that came to my house and told me every time he sees me taking an at-bat, I look like I have more fun hitting than I do pitching," Zambrano said. "Lately I've been struggling with my emotions. I need to have more fun when I'm pitching, just like down here."

One of the Chiefs players that enjoyed playing with Zambrano was catcher Michael Brenly.

"It was pretty fun," Brenly said. "It was a little difficult (to catch him) because I am not used to seeing that type of movement on pitches. He was throwing a good two-seam fastball and a cutter, but not that many sliders. He was letting me know what he wanted to throw out there. Whatever I put down was just a suggestion."

"He called a good game today," Zambrano said of Brenly. "We were on the same page, which is good for a pitcher and catcher battery. He was good behind the plate."

Zambrano was impressive at the plate earlier in the day during batting practice as well.

"He was hitting bombs out there," Chiefs pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx said. "He was crushing them right and left-handed. I was in the outfield just turning around and watching them sail over my head."

Zambrano wasn't that eager to get into the box and face any Single-A pitchers anytime soon, though.

"These guys are too wild," Zambrano joked. "I like to hit pitchers that know what to do on the mound. I don't like pitchers that throw up around my head."

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