Carlos Zambrano was pouring out the champagne on Thursday – for the 5th consecutive year, Carlos Zambrano will be the Cubs opening day starter. He will open up the Cubs 2009 season against the Houston Astros on April 6th in Houston.
In the middle of dousing teammates with Crystal after the announcement, Zambrano had this to say about the nod: “It’s an honor. I will do my best to win the game. I’m winless on Opening Day, and I will try to do my best. There’s no ace on this team… You have four quality starters, four aces. We have to take care of business and do what we can during the season to win as many games as possible.”
Zambrano competed with Ryan Dempster for the Opening Day nod. Dempster wanted to be the Cubs opening day starter, but took the #2 slot in stride. While wiping away tears from his eyes, Dempster had this to say: “I pitch once every five days. It doesn’t matter when I pitch. My ego doesn’t ever get hurt with stuff like that. I never expected to start Opening Day. I really don’t care. Get there, get healthy. I can go to Wrestlemania now on Sunday night in Houston. There’s a positive side to everything.”
Zambrano and Dempster will be followed by Ted Lilly and Rich Harden. The Cubs will skip the 5th starter in the rotation the first 2 weeks of the season because of off-days. Pinella still has not named a 5th starter, but it should come down to either Sean Marshall or Aaron Heilman.