Last season Carlos Zambrano was up and down with shoulder problems. It was the first time in several years that he did not pitch over 200 innings. I believe that this could turn out to be a good thing. Big ‘Z’ is also not going to pitch in the World Baseball Classic for Venezuela. That’s also good news in my opinion. The Cubs need a healthy and fresh Zambrano in 2009 if they want to repeat as Central Division Champs. What has me concerned now though, is an eye infection. He was already considering having laser surgery to help correct a vision problem. Now, with the infection he may have to put the surgery off until later this spring. I hope he doesn’t do it during the regular season. I think the surgery is a good idea, but he needs to have it done when his eye is completely recovered from the infection and before the season starts.
I mentioned that Zambrano won’t be competing in the World Baseball Classic and I think that is a good thing. Fellow Cubs pitcher, Rich Harden, has also chosen not to compete in the Classic. This is great news for the Cubs.
There are several Cubs players that are going to participate in the World Baseball Classic this spring. Carlos Marmol, Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez will be playing for the Dominican team. Ted Lilly and Derek Lee are on the USAs team roster. Geovany Soto may play for Puerto Rico. Outfielder Kosuke Fukudome will be playing for team Japan. There are other players from the Cubs that will be participating, but these are the main guys. These are the guys that will either be in the everyday lineup or play a major role on the pitching staff. I think the only guy that will really benefit from playing inthe WBC is going to be Fukudome. He needs to have a good WBC to gain confidence. He finished last year on a sour note, even losing his starting role. The Cubs invested a lot of money into him and they need for him to deliver this season. I believe he is capable of hitting over .280 this year. We will have to wait and see.
I wish the World Baseball Classic would take place in November after the regular season. I feel that having the games before the season starts isn’t a good thing. I went to Florida in 2006 to watch some spring training games. Several players were absent because they were representing their country in the WBC. It wasn’t the same for me. But I guess I am complaining and I know I don’t have any say in the matter. Yet, I think it would be better to have the games after the season rather than before.