April was a pretty rough month for the Chicago Cubs, with injuries and suspensions mixed in with a few too many losses for the fans at home. Now the injuries continue to linger for the team, but May has brought on a lot more things to be happy about. With today's win against the Padres, the team has now won four in a row, and six of their last eight to get within a half-game of the Milwaukee Brewers.
They're even starting to get their health back as Carlos Zambrano will begin a rehab assignment in Daytona this weekend and should be back on the mound next Friday night in San Diego. Now, Zambrano's return is still a week away, but it seems he can see into the future. That's why he's already apologizing to Cub fans for his lack of hustle when he does get back.
"I apologize to the Cubs fans for not being (a complete player). It's one thing to hustle and another thing to not play good. I will perform good, try to do all the things right, but in the running situation I have to take it easy, at least for a month, or until this thing is completely over. Then you'll see me running like Juan Pierre or Jose Reyes."
Now if only Neal Cotts would grab a microphone everytime he's brought in out of the bullpen and made an announcement to the Wrigley faithful that he's "sorry I"m going to blow this lead right now. I'm not trying to lose or anything, it's just, well, I'm just not very good." It would save everybody involved a whole lot of grief and anguish.
As for whether or not Zambrano will return to his role as a pinch-hitter, he says he has no idea and that we'll have to ask Lou Piniella. Odds are Piniella will take things slowly with his ace as he recovers from his hamstring injury, and really, the Cubs no longer need Zambrano's powerful bat now that Ryan Theriot has filled Aramis Ramirez's role.
Along with writing for NBCCHICAGO.com, Tom Fornelli can also be found contributing at FanHouse, SPORTSbyBROOKS, and his own Chicago sports blog Foul Balls.