Easy to see: It's a new look for 'Z'

 
 
  • The new-look Carlos Zambrano engages in a hitting drill Friday in Mesa, Ariz.

    The new-look Carlos Zambrano engages in a hitting drill Friday in Mesa, Ariz. Associated Press

Published: 2/13/2009 8:33 PM | Updated: 2/13/2009 8:33 PM

MESA, Ariz. - Carlos Zambrano spent most of Friday taking his cuts in the batting cages as pitchers and catchers reported for Cubs spring training.

Look for Zambrano to remain with the Cubs throughout spring training and not play for Venezuela in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. The biggest reason for that is not Zambrano's tricky right shoulder. It's his right eye.

During last month's Cubs convention, Zambrano said he would have laser surgery on the eye, which he said is shaped like a football.

"You ever have a football in your eye?" he joked.

But seriously, Zambrano said he is taking eyedrops for an infection and that if he does have the surgery, it could put him out two weeks.

"The doctor sent me some eyedrops, like 40 different kinds," he said. "I'm using it right now for about three weeks. But I feel much better.

"The doctors said I was supposed to have an eye (shaped) like a baseball, and my right eye is like a football. That's something that I have to correct. I may do it. I don't know yet. There's a small a chance I'll do it right now, or I'll do it during the season. Let's see how the drops work."

Too much work: Reliever Carlos Marmol admitted the Cubs told him to shut it down during winter ball in the Dominican Republic after he pitched in 82 games for the Cubs last season.

"I feel strong, I feel good," he said. "My arm feels good, my body. We'll see what's going to happen. They told me in the Dominican to stop throwing, and I did."

Marmol will battle with Kevin Gregg for the closer's job. He said he wouldn't be upset if he has to be the setup man again.

"I'm going to take the ball every time that they say," Marmol said. "That's my job. It doesn't bother me. I want to (close), but they are the boss. I'm not a boss of the players."

No Fukudome: Outfielder Kosuke Fukudome won't be here until the middle of next month because of the World Baseball Classic. Fukudome is playing for Team Japan, and the Asian teams open WBC play overseas.

Fukudome has lost his right-field job to Milton Bradley. When Fukudome gets here, he'll share time with Reed Johnson in center field. The Cubs say they'll have their scouts in Asia keeping tabs on Fukudome.

"We've been on top of his situation all winter," said general manager Jim Hendry.

Aches and pains: Jim Hendry said Kevin Gregg has recovered well from his knee surgery after last season, but the Cubs would go slowly with him on fielding practice and on moving laterally.

Hendry reiterated that he believes starting pitcher Rich Harden will be fine after enduring another year of shoulder woes.

"Nothing has changed from Harden since the day we got him except he's had a tremendous off-season of work," Hendry said. "He moved down there (to Arizona) and made tremendous commitment after the season. He's been here since about five days after the season. (Trainer) Mark O'Neal is thrilled about his conditioning. He's absolutely no different except maybe stronger and better than the day we got him. He has issues that he had for years in Oakland."