I think we tend to forget this is Carlos Zambrano’s ninth season with the Chicago Cubs.
And in five of the past six seasons he’s thrown for more than 200 innings.
It’s been great to have that work horse on the staff, but obviously, that also means a lot of ware and tear on the ol’ throwing shoulder.
So reading reports that the Cubs will take a cautious approach with Z during spring camp doesn’t come as a surprise.
In fact, we better get use to this being the norm for the soon to be 28-year-old.
It appears his previous work loads took its tool last June when Carlos made his first ever trip to the DL, a (10-3) first half record followed by a (4-3) post All Star break record.
Still, I don’t fault Z too much for the drop in production; after all, you can’t win against natural forces.
However, couple the shoulder ailment with a decline in pitch velocity and it’s clear that Zambrano better sharpen his mental game sooner than later.
Thus, the biggest challenge facing Zambrano isn’t his physical well being, but rather his mental approach to pitching.
A pitcher’s faulty mind is worse than his faulty shoulder…and anyone paying attention knows Zambrano has some faults upstairs to improve on.
I believe there are still plenty of bullets left in Z’s right arm…but mastering his mental game will determine how deadly those bullets are from this season forward.
That’s my concern with Z, not the shoulder.