As the weather heats up, so do tempers.
Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano was caught on camera in yet another meltdown, yelling at first baseman Derrek Lee and storming through the dugout after the first inning of last Friday’s game against the Chicago White Sox. And Tampa Bay’s B.J. Upton got into a heated discussion with teammate Evan Longoria in Sunday’s game against Arizona.
Zambrano’s tirade was triggered in the first inning, when he apparently became angry at Lee, and third baseman Aramis Ramirez for not diving for hard-hit balls down the line. Zambrano also gave up a three-run homer to Carlos Quentin, putting the Cubs down 4-0.
“That’s something that can’t be tolerated,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said of Zambrano’s tantrum.
Zambrano (3-6) did not return to the game and was sent home by Piniella. The pitcher was suspended for three games and then placed on the restricted list this week. Zambrano will get help from doctors for anger management problems, and will return to the team after the All-Star break, probably in the bullpen, where he spent five weeks earlier this season.
“We’ve obviously had a lot of transgressions in the past with Carlos,” Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. “So I think we all agree it’s time he got help. You’re hopeful that maybe once and for all he can put some of his problems he’s had with teammates and in other areas behind him and move on.”
At Tampa Bay, Longoria was upset that center-fielder Upton didn’t position himself properly nor run hard after a ball hit to the wall by the Diamondbacks’ Rusty Ryal for a triple in the fifth inning. Gerardo Parra followed with a two-run homer in Arizona’s 2-1 victory. It was the Rays 11th loss in their last 16 games.
“It’s a byproduct of a frustrated team,” Longoria said. “We’re trying to win games and guys are going to have differences of opinion. I just wanted to know what was going through his head. The bottom line, we’ve talked about it and it goes no further than today.”
AL wins interleague play, again: The American League continued its domination in interleague play this season, going 134-118 over the National League. That’s seven straight years the AL has topped the NL.
The Chicago White Sox had the best interleague record at 15-3, followed by Texas (14-4), Boston (13-5) and the New York Mets (13-5). Mark Buehrle went 4-0 for the White Sox, who won 11 straight with sweeps over Pittsburgh, Washington and Atlanta and two over the Cubs before their streak ended on Sunday. Jake Peavy had a 0.78 ERA in 23 innings pitched and Bobby Jenks recorded eight saves for the White Sox.
Offensively, the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton led interleague hitters with a .472 average. Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder, Baltimore’s Adam Jones and the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Napoli slugged seven home runs each. David Wright drove in 24 runs for the Mets.
Interleague play began in 1997, and the NL held the early edge, 4-3, through 2003. But in the past five years, the AL is 712-548 vs. the NL, and has won 10 of 14 years of interleague play.
Prior bids for return: Former major league pitcher Mark Prior was scheduled to work out before big league scouts this week at USC, according to FOX Sports’ Tracy Ringolsby. Prior, 29, hasn’t pitched in a major league game since 2006 with the Chicago Cubs. He was signed last season by San Diego, but did not appear in a game and was released.
Prior, who has been plagued by shoulder and arm injuries for most of his career, was drafted in 2001 by the Cubs behind Joe Mauer. His best season was in 2003, when he went 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA, 245 strikeouts and 50 walks. Prior helped the Cubs reach the NLCS that year.
In five major-league seasons, Prior was 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA.
StatsWatch: Here are the major league’s RBI leaders (through Monday) –
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, 66
David Wright, Mets, 61
Vladimir Guerrero, Rangers, 60
Corey Hart, Brewers, 60
Josh Hamilton, Rangers, 57
Paul Konerko, White Sox, 56
Troy Glaus, Braves, 56
Ryan Howard, Phillies, 55
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, 54
Diamond Notes: Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia is out with a broken left foot, suffered on Friday after he fouled a ball off his instep. Pedroia, who was batting .292 with 12 home runs, is expected to miss six weeks…Edwin Jackson, who threw a 149-pitch no-hitter for Arizona last week, will skip his scheduled start on Wednesday. Jackson’s next start will be Friday or Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers… Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer gave up his record 506th home run on Sunday, a two-run shot by Toronto’s Vernon Wells. Moyer passed former Phillies Hall of Famer Robin Roberts for the most homers allowed in a major league career.
Copyright © 2010 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.