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Ozzie Guillen doesn’t want Carlos Zambrano swinging for the fences

Jun 12, 2012, 3:45 PM EDT

Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies Getty Images

Last week I wrote about Carlos Zambrano tying Walter Johnson and Bob Gibson for the seventh-most homers by a pitcher in baseball history, but when Zambrano tweaked his back Saturday manager Ozzie Guillen suddenly wasn’t so interested in his power potential.

Here’s what Guillen told Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:

We’re going to cut down on his swings. He ain’t swinging no more. He’s done with that. Now he’s just going to bunt, bunt, and bunt. No more home run derby for him. You see Carlos, Carlos puts on a show when he hits. He does. That’s why we have to control that and make sure. I’m not going to say he’s not going to hit, but I don’t want him to. You don’t win games in batting practice. I don’t want him to start swinging the bat like that.

Zambrano has 24 homers in 682 at-bats and while his career .640 OPS is in backup catcher/utility infielder territory that production has been worth 75-100 runs more than a typical pitcher at the plate during that time. In other words, asking Zambrano not to take such big hacks might help him avoid some injuries but it would also take plenty of runs off the board for the Marlins’ lineup.

Zambrano’s next start is against the Rays under AL rules, so Guillen won’t have to worry about him hacking for a little while.

  1. wondroushippo - Jun 12, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Good luck with that, Ozzie.

    • Old Gator - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      Good luck with resetting your clock, Aaron. It’s June 12 at 12:45 PM as I write this and your post, dated June 12 at 3:45 PM, has been up for hours. Neat trick. Hanging around with Skynet lately, are ya.

  2. nagrommit - Jun 12, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    American League manager playing an American League game. Too bad Miami plays in the other circuit.

  3. icanspeel - Jun 12, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    It will work until his team is losing and not scoring him any runs.. It’s hard to be down 2-0 and not want to drive any runs in yourself.

    • Old Gator - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:50 AM

      Well, that’s the case as it is. frankly, with the lower third of the batting order looking like murderer’s row – ie, its hitters as inert as corpses – Ozzie ought to be overjoyed he’s got someone who can drive in a run now and again. His 6-7-8 hitters sure as hell can’t.

  4. rodge1 - Jun 12, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Of course Ozzie is going to say that. Why would he want opposing teams to expect Zambrano to swing?

  5. drewsylvania - Jun 12, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    And people wonder why AL fans have a hard time taking pitcher batting seriously. The teams don’t, either.

  6. Mike Cook - Jun 12, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    For those interested in reading more about Zambrano and the other great slugging pitchers of the past and present, SABR recently released an updated version of one of their earliest publications, Great Hitting Pitchers. A new chapter covering the post-1979 era discusses the hitting prowess of Hampton, Zambrano, Micah Owings, and others. It’s available digitally for the Kindle and Nook and as a print-on-demand paperback.

    http://sabr.org/latest/add-sabrs-great-hitting-pitchers-your-digital-library

    • Francisco (FC) - Jun 12, 2012 at 6:12 PM

      Shhh, you’ll cause brain aneurysms in those who can’t fathom a pitcher holding a bat.

      • Old Gator - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:48 AM

        One would hope they’d be caused in the league offices and Player’s Association conferences. Maybe then this atrocity known as the designated hitter can be dumped once and for all.

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