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updated: 7/28/2011 12:25 PM

Big Z: Change, change, change needed

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  • Carlos Zambrano says, "I still have the Cubs in my heart. If the change has to be me, that's OK."

    Carlos Zambrano says, "I still have the Cubs in my heart. If the change has to be me, that's OK."
    Associated Press


MILWAUKEE -- Carlos Zambrano didn't specify whether he was talking about loose coins or whatever, but he did repeat one word Tuesday night.

"Change," Zambrano said after he and the Cubs fell 2-0 to Zack Greinke and the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.

Zambrano worked 6⅔ innings and gave up 6 hits and 2 runs in falling to 7-6 for the season.

With the July 31 nonwaiver trading deadline almost here, Zambrano's name has come up in various trade rumors, most of them baseless.

The 30-year-old erstwhile ace of the Cubs pitching staff has a no-trade clause in his expensive contract. While he reiterated his desire to stay, he tossed around "change" more than a politician on the campaign trail or David Bowie in song.

"I do want to stay here; I do want to stay here," Zambrano said. "But at the same point, I want this team to make some change. If we want to win here, we need to make some changes. If I have to go, I have to go. I still have the Cubs in my heart. If the change has to be me, that's OK."

Zambrano said the Cubs have not approached him about waiving his no-trade clause. He has $18 million coming next year with a vesting option for 2013.

"No, they haven't (asked), and I don't want to talk about a trade," he said. "If it comes, it comes; we'll think about it if they say something."

So what kind of change does Zambrano have in mind?

"Change," he said. "Change. Change. A lot of change. A lot of change to win. Change."

Hard to argue with that in a lot of ways.

After the euphoria of sweeping the last-place Houston Astros wore off, the Cubs have dropped the first two games against the Brewers to fall to 42-62.

Greinke (8-4) is a tough pitcher, no doubt, but the Cubs have not scored a run since getting 2 in the first inning of Tuesday night's 3-2 loss.

Zambrano gave up a leadoff homer to Prince Fielder in the second before yielding a sacrifice fly to Yuniesky Betancourt later in the inning.

Cubs manager Mike Quade came out to get Zambrano with two outs in the seventh and a man on second base. Lefty James Russell retired left-handed hitting Nyjer Morgan on a groundout. Zambrano did not look happy about coming out as he asked for one more batter.

"Oh, absolutely," Quade said. "I don't blame him. I thought with the two guys coming up after Nyjer (Ryan Braun and Fielder) ... a lot of decisions ain't easy, and that was not an easy decision, but I thought we needed to try and stop them right there."

Zambrano indeed said he wanted to stay in the game.

"Yeah," he said. "Yes. I think at that point I had confidence I could get Nyjer out. But it's his (Quade's) decision. Nothing I can do about it."

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