HOUSTON -- Looking ahead to next season, Carlos Zambrano says the Cubs need another big bat in the lineup. And he has the right man for the job in mind in Nationals first baseman Adam Dunn, slated to be a free agent this offseason.
"I want that guy," Zambrano said. "He wants to play for us, not only this year but two years ago. He told me he wants to play at Wrigley Field badly."
The Cubs pitcher said Dunn said he wanted to take aim at Wrigley Field in 2008, when he was traded by the Reds to the D-backs. This year, Dunn is batting .260 with 38 homers and 103 RBIs for the Nationals. Aramis Ramirez leads the Cubs with 25 homers and 83 RBIs.
"When you see a guy who wants to play for an organization and he wants to give everything he has for that organization, that says a lot," Zambrano said. "I want to see him here next year, but if we can't sign him, we can't do it."
Zambrano said the Cubs need someone in the mix to protect Ramirez and Marlon Byrd. The team dealt Derrek Lee, who had been the No. 3 hitter, to the Braves on Aug. 13, and Xavier Nady took over at first. Nady will be a free agent after this season.
"We need that extra bat in the lineup next year," Zambrano said.
Mike Quade is just hoping he's back next season as the manager.
"We need to be better next year, this club needs to be better next year," Quade said. "It's going to fall on the veterans to come back and have good years. There's no substitute for experience."
Quade has left impression in Cubs tenure
HOUSTON -- Even after five weeks on the job, it's still tough for Mike Quade to convince some people he is the Cubs' interim manager.
A security officer at Minute Maid Park needed to see two types of identification for Quade, who wanted to get into the stadium early Saturday. The plan was to get his pregame work done in time to watch the Northwestern-Minnesota college football game. But the guard needed proof.
On Sunday, Quade will fill out the Cubs' lineup for the final game of the regular season. Whether he'll be back next year has yet to be determined.
"My job, for now, will be done [Sunday], and I'm going to leave for awhile and take a rest and we'll see what happens," Quade said Saturday.
He looks at his situation as one similar to some of the players called up from the Minor Leagues in September. Quade even talked to some of them about how much alike they are.
"They have great Minor League careers and everybody knows that, but now you have to do it here," Quade said. "I felt I was well prepared to get an opportunity here. I still wanted to find out for myself. ... There's a lot for me to prove to me as much as goals set individually and for the team."
It's different, though, to take over a team when it's 21 1/2 games back in the National League Central, which is where the Cubs were after play Aug. 22, than to open a season full of high expectations.
"Absolutely," Quade said. "We can make a list of the difficulties vs. the better part of starting a season with the club. It's seven weeks of Spring Training to establish who you are vs., 'Hey, boys, here I am.' I've heard a lot of different takes on this. It was obviously in an unusual situation, [with] emotions running high."
Quade had no idea what Cubs general manager Jim Hendry wanted when he called him into his office after the Aug. 21 game with the news that Lou Piniella was leaving his post permanently the next day to return to Florida to take care of family matters. There wasn't much time to prepare.
Quade hit the ground running and has guided the Cubs to a 24-12 record following Saturday's 8-3 victory. That's second best in the Major Leagues during that stretch, trailing the Phillies, who have gone 27-11.
"Yeah, there's the question, can we take these six weeks and whoever is sitting here, when these guys come back next year healthier, improved, getting better, and try to put six weeks into six months?" Quade said. "I think they can, I believe I can. Any doubters or any people who want to ask questions, that would be a legitimate question.
"But we're talking six weeks, we're not talking six days," he said. "These guys did a heck of a job in what amounts to a fourth of the season."
Melvin interviewed by Cubs in Houston
HOUSTON -- Add Bob Melvin to the list of candidates for the Cubs' managerial job.
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry interviewed the former Mariners and D-backs manager Saturday in Houston, according to a baseball source.
It's the second time Hendry has interviewed Melvin, who also was considered when the Cubs were looking for a manager prior to the 2003 season. The Cubs hired Dusty Baker at that time.
Melvin, who turns 49 on Oct. 28, managed the Mariners from 2003-04, compiling a 156-168 record. Seattle finished second in the American League West in '03. He joined the D-backs in 2005 and in five seasons was 337-340, finishing first in '07 and second in '05 and '08. He was let go in '09 after the team got off to a 12-17 start.
So far, Hendry has interviewed former Indians manager Eric Wedge and Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg, who has spent the last four seasons managing in the Cubs' Minor League system, including last year with the Triple-A Iowa team.
The Cubs are 23-12 under Mike Quade, the second-best record in the Major Leagues since Aug. 23. Only the Phillies have a better mark at 26-11.
Quade does not have a formal interview time set with Hendry but is expected to meet once the regular season ends Sunday.
"I talk so much about 'the process' -- that process will take care of itself," Quade said Friday. "I'm flexible as can be. That conversation needs to happen. ... I haven't concerned myself with that."
Colvin improving after bat incident
HOUSTON -- Tyler Colvin is breathing better now that the tube has been taken out of his chest. Cubs manager Mike Quade wanted the rookie outfielder to join the team in Houston for the final weekend, but doctor's say Colvin still can't fly.
It's one step at a time as he rehabs from the collapsed lung he suffered when hit in the chest by a broken bat. What happened on Sept. 19 in Miami?
"I was at third base," Colvin said during a conference call Saturday with reporters in Houston, "and Welington [Castillo] hit the ball. I knew he broke his bat. On contact, I thought I saw the bat go right to third base or that area, so I didn't pay it any attention and once I turned around and saw the ball was down, it hit me.
"At first, it didn't really register that it stabbed me," he said. "It just felt like it knocked the breath out of me. I kept on going and once I touched home, [Jeff] Samardzija was like, 'Are you OK?' and I said, 'Yeah, I just got the wind knocked out of me.' He said, 'No, dude, you're bleeding.'"
Colvin was hospitalized and eventually went home for the remainder of the season.
"It stinks because we're playing so well now and I wish I could be a part of that," he said.
His injury has prompted discussion on whether Major League Baseball should ban maple bats.
"I can't say much about it because I use maple bats," Colvin said. "There's nothing to say about it. It happened and Major League Baseball is doing a good job to reduce the number of broken bats and I think they'll keep working on it to get it better."
Would Colvin consider changing to ash or birch or something else?
"No, not really," he said. "If somebody really made me, I guess I'd have to. It's a bat and they're going to break. I've seen ash bats break like that before. As long as they keep trying to improve them and make them better, I don't see what's wrong with them."
Colvin can start jogging now, but no heavy weight-lifting. No swimming, no flying. He's getting married in early November, and the doctors did give Colvin the go-ahead to go on his honeymoon.
The incident hasn't made him fearful. He is eager to get back on the field.
"I'm going to go out and play the same way I always do," Colvin said. "It's not going to scare me to go out on the field again, if that's what you're implying."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.