Carlos Zambrano was so-so in his final tune-up this spring – an 11-0 loss to Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He wasn’t as sharp as you would like to see him at this point in the spring – 4 ER on 6 hits and 2 walks – but he did rack up 3 strikeouts during his 4 innings of work. Zambrano says that he is honored to be the Cubs starter on opening day against the Braves in Atlanta and that he is ready to come out firing on all cylinders — “It’s a privilege, especially with so many good pitchers that we have on this team… I’ve been watching the Braves all Spring Training and they look like they’re ready, but I’m ready, too. We’re ready for them and they’re ready for us, so let’s rock and roll.” Zambrano went on to say that his goal is to throw at least 220 innings for the Cubs during the 2010 MLB schedule and to remain in excellent conditioning through the long season — “I have to keep myself in better shape during the season. That’s another challenge that I have. I think so far I’ve been mentally prepared and mentally ready to enter the season with a much better weight.”
Big Z is going to be a big part of any Cubs success in 2010. 9 wins from the ace of your staff with 2 stints on the disabled list is unacceptable. Zambrano needs to stay focused and committed to staying in good shape during the season. Let’s hope he is as prepared as he says he is and as others in the organization think he is as well.