Carlos Zambrano may be going on an apology tour, but according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, it’s going to be unsuccessful.
Wittenmyer takes the pulse of the Cubs’ front office and clubhouse and believes strongly that Zambrano has thrown his last pitch as a Cub. He calls Zambrano’s interview with CSNChicago.com part of “an image-fixing publicity tour of handpicked media outlets,” and says that it’s against the advice of Zambrano’s agent. He also notes that neither Jim Hendry nor Mike Quade are impressed with it. He believes that no matter what happens with Big Z’s grievance, the Cubs will keep him away from the team for the rest of the season and that they’ll continue to try to trade him in the winter.
Of course Zambrano is virtually untradeable, and certainly without the Cubs paying all or nearly all of his 2012 salary. And when that dawns on the Cubs, it’s not hard to imagine them simply releasing the guy, because it means more or less the same to them.
So yes, we’ve seen the Zambrano contrition parade in the past. But it seems like we’re about to see a brand new outcome.
With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.
Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP
UPDATE, 5:08 PM EDT: Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon will not rule out a World Series appearance for Kyle Schwarber if the Cubs advance. MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports that Schwarber could play through a simulated game on Sunday, during which the Cubs’ medical and baseball staff would evaluate his chances for a late season return. If he does play, it will likely be in a pinch-hitting or DH role and not on the field.
Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber will return to the playing field on Saturday, per a report by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. The club’s prized left fielder suffered a season-ending injury when he collided with Dexter Fowler back in April, tearing both his ACL and LCL and undergoing intensive knee surgery later that month.
While no nerve damage was discovered during the surgery, the Cubs have kept a close eye on Schwarber during his recovery and put a kibosh on any part-time or full-time role with the team until the spring of 2017. Getting a few reps in during the Arizona Fall League appears to be the last step in the 23-year-old’s rehab process. He will be part of the Mesa Solar Sox’ ‘taxi squad,’ making him eligible for games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Schwarber batted .246/.355/.487 with 16 in 69 games with the Cubs during his debut season in 2015. He will be added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster in advance of their set against the Salt River Rafters on Saturday evening.