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Déjà Vu: Zambrano Says He'll Let His Play Do the Talking

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 15, 2011 4:20PM

You know spring training is here when Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano tells a scrum of reporters that thing will be different this year, he'll let his play do the talking, he's matured and, oh, yeah, he wants to start Opening Day. It's all cyclical with Big Z. He's like the boy who cried wolf.

Zambrano can't possibly repeat his personal ebbs and flows of last season, can he? Even by Zambrano's standards, 2010 was monumental. There was the lack of velocity early in the season; the demotion to the bullpen; the blowup on the field and in the dugout against the White Sox; being placed on the restricted list and ordered to undergo anger management therapy; and ending the season regaining his velocity and going 8-0 in his last 11 starts.

Could this be the season where Zambrano actually shuts up and performs like the staff ace he's paid to be? Mike Quade has a big decision to make. Zambrano hasn't exactly performed like a $91 million man in his previous six Opening Day starts. Last year, he surrendered 8 runs in 1.3 innings in a 16-5 Opening Day loss to the Atlanta Braves. Quade could go with the steadier Ryan Dempster or the team's biggest offseason acquisition, Matt Garza. If Quade does, we could possible see the return of the old Big Z.

to paraphrase Derrick Rose's Adidas commercials — "Ego don't lie."