Unstable Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano has a new friend that helps him remain calm and showcase his sensitive side: a two-year old canine named Wiggles. Zambrano carries Wiggles around in a backpack at all times, even when he’s on the mound.

“I got the idea after watching The Empire Strikes Back,” said Zambrano. “Yoda sat in Luke’s backpack and instructed Luke to use the Force and remain calm. Wiggles does the same for me when I’m about to lose it on the mound, grocery shopping or dealing with telemarketers. Finally, everyone will see what a sensitive guy I really am.”

Zambrano and Wiggles have been seen frolicking around the Arizona desert, participating in poetry readings at coffee shops and taking in romantic comedies at the Mesa multiplex. Wiggles was also there to console Zambrano when Big Z was “gently weeping” after a showing of Sleepless in Seattle on cable.

“I have truly turned a corner,” said Zambrano. “Now, when I get upset, I think, ‘what would Wiggles do?’ Wiggles would lick himself and roll around on the ground. That is pretty good advice.”

By Jimmy Juliano. Photoshop by Kurt Evans