Of all of the strange things that have happened to and been done by Cubs over the years, the news yesterday that Carlos Zambrano’s MRI results weren’t available because Carlos ran from the medical building like a nine year old trying to avoid the dentist ranks right up there, doesn’t it?
It left Lou Piniella to sit through a 20 minute press conference when he had no answers to any of the questions about “How’s Carlos?” ”What did he hurt?” Or even, “Where’s Carlos?”
I hate it when people say things like “this could only happen to the Cubs.”
But you know what? This could only happen to the Cubs.
So here they are, with a 4.5 game lead with 22 games to play, a nine game pad in the wild card and they’re faced with complete uncertainty about one of their best players.
I suppose, the fact that Carlos isn’t going to pitch for 11 days at the very earliest means that his not taking the MRI yesterday isn’t that big of a deal. But it still doesn’t answer the question, “why didn’t he take it?”
I would say there are three possible options and we can address them from least likely to most likely.
3) All we know about Carlos taking himself out of the game on Tuesday night is that he told Larry Rothschild that he didn’t “feel good.” He didn’t say he was hurt, he said he didn’t feel good.
Maybe he shit his pants a little bit and when the Cubs’ rally in the bottom of the fifth fell apart he didn’t have time to change his pants and use one of those nice aloe wipes? Hey! It happens to the best of us…I mean them. I certainly mean them.
So Carlos is embarrassed because usually the only guy who craps himself on the mound is Neal Cotts. The Cubs assume he’s hurt, make an appointment for him to see the doctor, Carlos is too embarrassed to tell them he was sick, not injured, so he goes to the doctor, but after the arm exam he skips the MRI.
2) Carlos didn’t like the MRI he got in June. He had to do the more detailed one and had dye injected into his shoulder, instead of the one where they just send you to the open MRI place and you sit there while the thing clicks and whizzes and then they bill your insurance company $2,500. He also had to get in the tube for that one, which isn’t fun for anybody, much less a 6’5, 240 pound man. It could very well be that Carlos was satisfied with Dr. Gryzlo (or Griswold or whoever the quack is) doing a physical exam on his shoulder and Carlos said, “Fuck this. I wish I’d never said anything,” and went home. It would also account for him not talking to the media or even sitting in the dugout during the game. Carlos thinks he’s fine now and doesn’t want to talk about it.
1) Unfortunately, the most likely scenario is that Carlos knows his shoulder is jacked up this time and he doesn’t want to take the MRI because he doesn’t want to know just how bad it is. This is the scenario the Cubs are most afraid of. This is the nine year old Carlos scenario. The one where he hopes if nobody tells him he’s hurt, then he won’t be hurt. The Cubs were pretty excited in June when Carlos’ MRI showed (according to them) a labrum and rotator cuff that were in excellent condition for a guy who’d pitched more than six years in the big leagues. The unfortunate part of that is that it only takes one pitch for that to change.
So we don’t know. And we won’t until Carlos finally takes the MRI. He’s supposed to today, but we could also tune in later to find live footage of him running down the interstate in his hospital gown like Alonzo Spellman.
Just when you thought September was going to be anti-climactic…