Zambrano calm after tough day

Originally Published: May 14, 2010
By Bruce Levine | ESPNChicago.com

Although most Cubs' observers expected to find a volatile Carlos Zambrano waiting for them after he gave up the deciding runs in Friday's 10-6 loss to Pittsburgh, reporters were treated to a more passive and serene pitcher than they've encountered in the past.

"To get this clear, I was unhappy the first day they told me that [he would be moved to the bullpen]," Zambrano said. "I wasn't sure it was going to work, but I'm a reliever now. I have to do my job as a reliever. I'm happy now. I'm happy, I'm here and can help this team. Today I didn't help this team. But, believe me, I'm happy to do whatever situation that they want me to. If tomorrow they want me to go back to the rotation, I'll go back there. Then I'll be more than happy to go back to the rotation."

Zambrano took the loss Friday, giving up a three-run homer to Pittsburgh's Garrett Jones in the eighth inning.

He was asked why he is so calm and collected in his new role.

"Because I'm a professional," he said. "This is a business thing. The front office decides. I can't argue with that."

Struggling to fill the eighth inning setup role, the Cubs turned to Zambrano on April 22. It was the first time since 2003 he has not been in the starting rotation.

The jury is still out on the move itself. The 29-year-old has thrown 8 2/3 innings in relief, giving up six runs. The National League is hitting .375 (15-for-40) against him as a reliever.

Zambrano signed a five-year, $91-million dollar extension with the Cubs in 2007

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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