Carlos Zambrano wants to start opener

Updated: February 15, 2011, 11:10 AM ET
By Bruce Levine | ESPNChicago.com

MESA, Ariz. -- After a season that included stints on the suspended and restricted lists, Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano said Monday that he will let his play do the talking this season.

"I'm going to do more on the field than what I talk about," Zambrano said before Cubs pitchers and catchers took the field for the first time this spring. "This year I don't want to say anything. I just want to talk with my numbers."

Zambrano was suspended in June after his dugout confrontation with teammate Derrek Lee and manager Lou Piniella during a game against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. He later spent a month on the restricted list and underwent anger management therapy.

He came back strong for the Cubs, going 8-0 in his final 11 starts and showed great command of his changeup, split finger and slider while topping out between 89 and 91 mph with the fastball.

Zambrano said Monday that he would like to start his seventh straight Opening Day for the Cubs.

"Of course I want to be in the Opening Day lineup," Zambrano said. "I want to open the season for the Cubs. The decision is in [manager] Mike [Quade]'s hands. There's nothing I can do about it if he decides on [Ryan] Dempster or [Matt] Garza."

Zambrano has only won one game in his six prior Opening Day assignments. He surrendered two home runs and eight earned runs in 1 1/3 innings in a 16-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Opening Day last season.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.

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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