07/01/10 3:02 PM ET
Young Cubs make Minors All-Star squads
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Barney led all PCL shortstops in games played with 74 and had a .971 fielding percentage. He was batting .289. Diamond was 5-2 with a 2.53 ERA.
Double-A Tennessee's Tony Campana, Robinson Chirinos and Blake Lalli were named to the starting lineup for the Southern League North Division All-Star team. The lineup is subject to change.
The three Smokies will join teammates Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Ryan Buchter, David Cales, Hung-Wen Chen and Steve Clevenger on the North Division roster. The game will be played July 12.
The Cubs announced Thursday they have signed fifth-round Draft pick Matt Szczur of Villanova. A two-sport star in baseball and football, he was the first .400 hitter for Villanova this season since 1997, batting .443 (77-for-174).
Piniella, Baker have dinner -- by chance
CHICAGO -- Managers Lou Piniella and Dusty Baker apparently have good taste. The two dined at the same downtown restaurant Wednesday night, meeting at Joe's Stone Crab by accident.
They obliged fans at the restaurant by posing for pictures, showing the "'now' and 'before,'" Baker said. The two faced each other as players in the 1977, '78 and '81 World Series, when Piniella played for the Yankees and Baker for the Dodgers. They respected each other as players.
"I said, 'Man, you can hit,'" Baker said, "and [Piniella] said, 'Man, you can hit.'"
They also respect each other's baseball expertise.
"Lou was the first guy, when I was with the Giants, who asked when I thought I was going to get a chance to manage because he thought I should get one," Baker said. "That meant a lot to me."
Baker, who managed the Cubs from 2003-06, is in town with the first-place Reds.
"I've heard the fans have been pretty good to him," Baker said of Piniella, whose Cubs are in fourth place.
Plan for Big Z after return unknown
CHICAGO -- The Cubs aren't sure whether Carlos Zambrano will need to make any rehab outings before he rejoins the team sometime after the All-Star break.
Zambrano began evaluation and treatment for anger issues on Wednesday in New York with doctors selected by Major League Baseball and the Players Association. He was not expected back with the Cubs until after the July 13 All-Star Game, and when he does return, he will be in the bullpen, not the rotation.
"We haven't gotten that far," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "I would think he would need to go pitch somewhere. It'll be three weeks -- that's a long time. I would think he'll need a little work. That subject hasn't been brought up yet."
Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly did talk to Zambrano earlier this week by phone. Piniella planned to reach out to the pitcher at some point.
"Time will heal wounds," Piniella said. "I think it was a very good idea to wait until after the All-Star break before he came in and addressed the team. That's two weeks from now, and I think things will quiet down a lot. I think the players will accept Carlos as a teammate."
Zambrano was sent home after a tantrum in the dugout on June 25 at U.S. Cellular Field when he accused his teammates of not playing behind him. He was suspended for three days without pay and then placed on the restricted list.
This wasn't Zambrano's first tirade, but Piniella isn't going to throw the right-hander out if he makes another mistake.
"Personally, I like the young man, I really do," Piniella said. "I thought that what happened shouldn't, but personally, I've always enjoyed talking to Zambrano and enjoyed having him on the team. I hope the help he's getting now will help him and we'll leave it at that."
Reds manager Dusty Baker, who had Zambrano on his staff when he managed in Chicago from 2003-06, said he wished the pitcher well.
"Things build sometimes," Baker said. "You usually just don't blow to be blowing. Usually there is a building of anxiety or anger or intolerance or whatever it is for whatever reason. I wish Carlos well, because I like Big Z. I wish him well. I hate that the whole thing happened."
Offense puts June struggles behind it
CHICAGO -- When Lou Piniella played for the Yankees and the team was in a hitting slump, manager Billy Martin would pull names out of a hat to determine the lineup.
Piniella hasn't gotten to that point yet with the Cubs.
"That was more to relax people and get a few laughs," Piniella said of Martin's tactic. "I always felt he kept one or two names in the palm of his hand that he wanted in the right spots in the lineup. You have to let the guys play and hope they come around."
The Cubs finished June with a 10-16 record, batted .249 in the month and scored 92 runs. Only the Nationals (91) and Pirates (82) scored fewer runs among National League teams for the month.
"Consistency has been a problem," Piniella said. "I come to the ballpark every day thinking we're going to hit the ball and score some runs. So far, that hasn't materialized. We're about halfway through the season. Hopefully in the second half, we'll do better."
In the just-completed series against the Pirates, the Cubs pitchers posted a 1.00 ERA, giving up three earned runs over 27 innings. Yet they won one of the three games.
"The only problem is when you don't hit, you almost have to play a perfect game, and when you don't, one miscue here, one miscue there, you lose the darn thing," Piniella said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.