Ump’s call, demotion of Neal Cotts to minors set off Big Z

Two inevitable things happened on Wednesday afternoon — Carlos Zambrano finally snapped and Neal Cotts was jettisoned to the minors. The Cubs did manage to win the game 5-2 over Pittsburgh at Wrigley, to move back over .500.

Big Z’s rage began before the game upon hearing the news that awful lefty reliever Neal Cotts had been finally sent to the minors, about a month too late for most except for Zambrano.

“I can’t believe it,” he said. “Neal is a great pitcher and a good friend. All he needs to do is throw strikes once in a while and everything would be great. Big Z is not happy about this move.”

A simmering Zambrano finally snapped in the seventh after uncorking a wild pitch that scored the Pirates Nyjer Morgan from third to tie the game. Zambrano, covering home, appeared to tag out Morgan, who was called safe by plate umpire Mark Carlson on a bang-bang play. Flying into a rage, Big Z threw a hissy fit, bumped the umpire, got tossed from the game, gave the ump a mock heave-ho, fired a ball into left field, and smashed a Gatorade machine in the Cubs dugout.

Fellow nutcase Milton Bradley was impressed with Big Z’s antics.

“He did all that and didn’t even tear an ACL,” said Bradley. “That’s pretty remarkable.”

Number of the Game: 1
Double and RBI in as many at-bats for Jake Fox, who was at long last called up before the game from Des Moines. Fox — who has been in the Cubs minor league system for the last 37-years — had been tearing the cover off the ball at Triple-A Iowa, leading the league in all three Triple Crown categories. It’s about damn time!

By Jeremy Barewin