Chicago starting pitcher Ted Lilly became the first Cubs player to get through to Carlos Zambrano, saying the controversial pitcher wants to return to help the team in the second half of the season.
“I talked to Carlos (Monday) night and he wants to be back out here and he wants to help the team, and I believe that he’s going to do that,” Lilly told WGN-TV. “So for me it was encouraging to talk to him and hear what he had to say. I’m pretty confident that he’ll be back as soon as he can and he’ll help us win games.”
Lilly declined to elaborate on his conversation with Zambrano. Marlon Byrd told WGN that Zambrano’s tantrum Friday at U.S. Cellular Field of the Chicago White Sox did not end the way it was intended.
“We know what he was trying to do,” Byrd said. “It came across wrong. This is something you have to move past. At the same time, it’s weird. This can bring a team together, some kind of adversity. Everything is going to be fine. Everybody knows what kind of guy Carlos is, and we accept him.”
Zambrano, who has a history of outbursts, unleashed a tirade against his teammates and had to be separated from first baseman Derrek Lee in the dugout after allowing four runs in the first inning of a 6-0 loss to the White Sox. He was sent home by manager Lou Piniella, suspended indefinitely by the team and won’t have a spot in the rotation when he comes back.
The Atlanta Braves will host the Civil Rights Games in 2011-12, team president John Schuerholz announced. No dates or opponents have been set for the games, which will be played during the next two regular seasons. The 2009-10 games were held in Cincinnati. … Texas Rangers billionaire owner Tom Hicks was paid a $183,594 salary from the team from June 15, 2009 through May 24 – about the same time the Rangers had a 10 percent layoff, according to filings in the team’s bankruptcy case. … The Colorado Rockies optioned left-handed reliever Franklin Morales to Triple-A Colorado Springs – the same day Morales allowed four runs and five hits in two innings in a 13-3 loss to San Diego. … Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez is scheduled to get a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on his injured right hamstring in Phoenix during today’s day off. Manager Joe Torre said he will wait for the medical evaluation before making a decision on whether or not to send Ramirez to the disabled list.