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Carlos Zambrano has some fun with bat-breaking incident

Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano breaks his bover his knee after striking out end fifth inning Tuesday night. He had some

Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano breaks his bat over his knee after striking out to end the fifth inning on Tuesday night. He had some fun Wednesday, joking with reporters. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: July 8, 2011 2:40PM

Want to know the best and safest way to break a bat over your knee? Professor Z is in the house and providing free clinics.

Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who caught criticism from his manager (‘‘What manager?’’) for risking injury Tuesday by angrily busting a bat over his leg after striking out, had fun with reporters on the issue before Wednesday’s game.

He conspicuously worked out in a clubhouse hallway for reporters after talking Tuesday night about how strong his legs were for bat-breaking. And later he walked a bat over to a group of reporters in the dugout and demonstrated proper technique for gripping the barrel and handle, and where to bring the bat down on the knee.

‘‘Right here is where you do it,’’ he said, then pointed to a spot a few inches up the barrel. ‘‘This is where you go on the disabled list.’’

Z joked, but manager Mike Quade said he delivered a serious message to Zambrano before Wednesday’s game.

‘‘I told him the next time you’re frustrated, just come and whack me upside the head,’’ Quade said. ‘‘We can survive if I’m injured. But we don’t need him hurting himself. . . . I think he understands that.

‘‘I’d like to see that not be a regular occurrence.’’

Zambrano, who scoffed at the issue Tuesday night, said he planned to stop the bat-breaking thing he figures he has done for at least the last eight years.

Even under the circumstances, Quade conceded, ‘‘It was somewhat impressive.’’

But, he added, ‘‘As feats of strength go, it wasn’t Kramer-on-Festivus strength.’’


Matt Garza threw a 30-pitch bullpen session without issue Wednesday and remains on track to return from the disabled list sometime during next week’s series at Cincinnati.

Rodrigo Lopez, who started in his Cubs debut Monday, will be available out of the bullpen this weekend in St. Louis. He could stay there when Garza comes off the DL if the Cubs decide to send a pitcher with options to the minors instead of putting Lopez or someone else on waivers.

◆ The rotation for this weekend’s series in St. Louis: Ryan Dempster (4-4) vs. Jaime Garcia (5-1) on Friday, Randy Wells (1-1) vs. Kyle Lohse (7-2) on Saturday and Carlos Zambrano (5-2) vs. Chris Carpenter (1-5) on Sunday.

Kosuke Fukudome, who followed a .383 April with a .247 May, opened June with his third career homer leading off a game. The Cubs didn’t score again.

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