04/17/12 7:30 PM ET
Big Z reflects on time with Cubs, looks forward
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
"Coming from one of the oldest ballparks to the newest ballpark in baseball, it's a big difference," the former Cubs pitcher said Tuesday in the clubhouse at Marlins Park. "Wrigley, for 10 1/2 years, it was a place I never ever will forget. Chicago was always great to me, and I do really appreciate all the attention and the criticism, too. It made me get better.
"It really was a great place for me and [it was] my house for 10 1/2 years. Nothing compares to Wrigley. I played there, the atmosphere of baseball, the passion of the fans is something you don't see in any other ballpark."
The right-hander, who was traded on Jan. 5 to the Marlins for Chris Volstad, is not scheduled to start against his former team. Zambrano's winless in two starts so far and has walked eight over 12 innings.
"I don't want to pitch against the Cubs -- not yet," he said.
Zambrano harbored hope that he would stay in Chicago, where he compiled a 125-81 record since 2001. He flew to Chicago from Venezuela to meet with president of baseball operations Theo Epstein in December to discuss that.
"I had hope," Zambrano said. "Obviously, like I always say and people know, this is a business. Sometimes they need somebody who fits better than me over there and the people in Miami need me here, and that's why they made the trade and I'm ready to do my job."
He made the decision to waive his no-trade clause and accept the deal after talking to his family, including his 11-year-old daughter.
"She said, 'Daddy, whatever you decide, I'm with you,'" Zambrano said. "It was a family decision, too, it was not only my decision. It was a family decision and my family felt it was time to move from Chicago."
Zambrano had a volatile career with the Cubs that included a no-hitter in September 2008 plus a few temper tantrums and time to undergo anger management therapy.
"I know I made a mistake in Chicago, I made a lot of mistakes, but I have a lot of good memories about the Cubs," Zambrano said. "I accept my mistakes. I'm responsible. I don't make excuses. I'm responsible for things that happened in Chicago, nobody else. It wasn't [former general manager] Jim Hendry, it wasn't the team, it was me, Carlos Zambrano.
"That's why I'm here. I wanted to play the whole time with the Cubs because that was the team that brought me up and the team that discovered me and gave me a chance and the opportunity. Things aren't like that."
Wood in Chicago for cortisone shot in shoulder
MIAMI -- Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood returned to Chicago on Tuesday to get a cortisone shot in his right shoulder, but the hope is that he can return on Friday when the team opens a homestand against the Reds.
Wood felt some discomfort after his last outing on Friday in St. Louis. He played catch on Tuesday during an early workout at Marlins Park prior to the start of the Cubs' three-game series against the Marlins, then flew back to Chicago.
"We're 10 games into a 162-game season, we're trying to be smart about it and trying to let him get right here, and hopefully he'll be back real soon," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday.
Wood has pitched in four games so far, blowing a save in his first outing, then taking the loss in the second.
The Cubs limited Wood's appearances this spring to seven games and a total of five innings. The right-hander apparently had problems "off and on" at that time, Hoyer said.
"It wasn't that we felt he was hurt [in Spring Training], it just didn't feel right, so we tried to back off a little bit and let him gather some strength, and it hasn't worked so far, so we're going to keep trying," Hoyer said.
Wood, 34, has been on the disabled list 15 times in his career, most recently last June because of a blister.
Cubs rest Soto, start hot-hitting Clevenger
MIAMI -- Steve Clevenger was behind the plate Tuesday partly because Cubs manager Dale Sveum wanted his bat in the lineup and because it gives Geovany Soto an extra day to rest.
Clevenger entered the game 6-for-10 in five games, including 2-for-2 as a pinch-hitter.
"The guy can swing the bat, he has all the time," Sveum said. "Wherever he's gone, he's always hit. He's played enough infield positions in his career and life that he can handle himself. There's no doubt that when you have a guy who keeps swinging the bat, you get his bat in the lineup somehow."
Clevenger subbed at first base on Sunday. A former shortstop, he could play there if Sveum wants to give Bryan LaHair a breather.
"It just depends on matchups," Sveum said.
The Cubs had a pregame workout Tuesday to get a feel for new Marlins Park.
"We did everything you could do to figure it out," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
This is the 119th different ballpark the Cubs have played in since their inception in 1876, and the first new ballpark since they played in Citi Field in New York in 2009. They'll add ballpark No. 120 when the Cubs travel to Minnesota for Interleague Play games at Target Field June 8-10.
The Cubs will have the sixth pick in the First-Year Player Draft, to be held June 4. They also will have the 43rd and 56th selections in the sandwich round as compensation for Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena, respectively. The Draft will have 40 rounds this year and not 50, and will span three days. The first round and compensation round will be held on June 4, and the Draft will resume on June 5 with Rounds 2 through 15. June 6 will cover rounds 16 through 40.
Ozzie Guillen returned to manage the Marlins after serving a five-game suspension for his comments regarding Fidel Castro. Sveum will focus on the game in hopes of avoiding such controversy.
"I don't care where you are," Sveum said. "If you don't say the right thing or say one thing that you probably didn't think of before you said it, it's going to be magnified. There's too much media. Some people can take one thing the wrong way, and that's all it takes and it snowballs throughout the whole country. You have to be careful and stick with what we know, which is baseball, and that's it."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.