Friday Morning Starters, Including Zambrano’s Priorities


If the Chicago Cubs are going to win the oil-leak BP Cup, they are going to have sweep the White Sox this series. As if the Cup actually matters, both Chicago teams have gone through a number of issues this season and been highly scrutinized by each of their fan-bases. But the Cubs will get some added reinforcements this weekend, as both Kerry Wood and Marlon Byrd are expected to be activated off of the disabled list at some point this week-end. After the jump, we will have an update on Wood, as well as examining pitcher Carlos Zambrano‘s priorities yesterday.

Cubs relief pitcher Kerry Wood broke the news on his recently created twitter account that he will be returning from the disabled list today. Wood had been on the disabled list due to a blister on his right hand, but, after throwing a simulated game on Wednesday the Cubs relief pitcher is ready to return to action. Wood also told reporters that he has no interest of being traded and wants to remain a Cub for the rest of his life. That should not come as a surprise. Wood took significantly less in the off-season in order to return to the Cubs, and eventually retire as a Cub.

Though that has not kept teams from making Wood one of the hottest commodities. Buster Olney reported that many teams have called the Cubs to check in on Wood’s availability. Considering Wood is only making $1.5MM this season, he likely is one of the most attractive relief pitchers on the market. Olney notes that the Diamondbacks have expressed the most interest of any other team in Wood. Though with Wood’s desire to remain a Cub, the Cubs will miss out on cashing in on the veteran reliever. Olney also notes that utility man Jeff Baker has also generated a lot of interest from other teams. The Boston Red Sox have expressed interest in Baker throughout the season, and it appears they have their sights set on acquiring the Cubs infielder before the trade deadline.

In case you missed it, Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano was pulled from his start yesterday in the second inning due to a back-related injury. However, that did not stop Zambrano from throwing out the first pitch in the Chicago Bandits softball game last night. While I do not take issue with this, it does show questionable judgment for Zambrano throw out a first pitch at a softball game on the same day that he was pulled from his start because of an injury. Zambrano will have an epidural today, a trip to the disabled list may not be out of the question.

Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports that Aramis Ramirez‘s hot streak has made the Cubs third baseman begin to look like an attractive option the trade market. Though, Ramirez still does not appear to be willing to waive his no trade clause. But as I have suggested in the past, Levine notes that Ramirez may be willing to waive his no trade clause in August. Ramirez does not want to waive his no trade clause now because he does not want to move his family. However, in August Ramirez’s family moves back to the Dominican Republic in order for his children to start school. Meaning Ramirez may be willing to waive his no trade clause, seeing as he would not have to worry about moving his family.