Cubs expect a mature Big Z in 2011

Cubs expect a mature Big Z in 2011

CHICAGO -- Greg Maddux plays a large role with the Cubs as an extra coach and talent evaluator, but one thing they won't ask him to do is be Carlos Zambrano's spiritual advisor.

During a question-and-answer session on Saturday at the Cubs Convention, a fan suggested Maddux, now a special assistant to general manager Jim Hendry, be matched up with Zambrano as an emotional coach. Everyone knows how calm Maddux was on the mound and how Zambrano often is not.

"I expect Carlos to handle himself the way he finished up last year," Cubs manager Mike Quade said of the right-hander, who finished 8-0 in his final 11 starts. "Whether he explodes or whatever the thing is, all right, so he explodes? Take a walk, see you in five days, pitch well.

"If it becomes a reoccuring thing, then we have a problem. If we're going to have individual guys taking care of each guy who has emotional issues, man, we're not going to have a big enough plane."

That prompted more than a few laughs from the crowd at the Continental Ballroom.

Zambrano did undergo anger management therapy last season after a tantrum in the dugout on June 25. Quade said he likes Big Z's enthusiasm for the game.

"One thing I don't want to do is take all the passion out of Carlos Zambrano," Quade said. "If a little bit of overexcitement results in him pitching and performing well, we'll deal with that. There's no question Greg Maddux will benefit him and everybody else. But I don't want to make them roommates."