CHICAGO -- The news that pitcher Carlos Zambrano wouldn't return to the Cubs during the 2011 season weighed heavy on the heart of one of his teammates.
"When I heard the news, it obviously saddens me," first baseman Carlos Pena said. "All the time that I've been here, I've been able to build a friendship with him. I am very sad because of how difficult of a situation it has been. Not only for us, but for him. I know it's been very hard for him."
Though this is Pena's first year in Chicago, he was able to grow close to Zambrano. Pena said he hopes fans can push past the negative and remember the positive things about Zambrano.
"I think we should focus on the good stuff that he has brought to this ballclub, the good times," Pena said. "He has dominated at times, he's been a great teammate at times. And the rest, those are things that he must deal with.
"We're all here for him. At the end of the day, we're all here for him. That's what's most important. ... Baseball is our career, but there is more to life."
Pena welcoming toward callup LaHair
CHICAGO -- Sometimes, when a player is brought up from Triple-A, veteran players can be very protective of their positions.
That is anything but the case between first baseman Bryan LaHair, who was called up Friday, and veteran first baseman Carlos Pena.
"I want him to get some opportunity and really get a shot and get his feet wet," Pena said. "He deserves it. We'll find a way. Obviously I want to be there every single day at first base, but I want him to play also. We'll find a way to work it in."
LaHair, the 28-year-old who was named the 2011 Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player after batting .331 with an Iowa franchise-record 38 home runs and 109 RBIs in 129 games, is getting his first stint in the Majors with the Cubs after spending nine seasons in the Minors with two teams.
Pena said the two built a friendship during Spring Training, and since LaHair's arrival in Chicago, they have already begun working together.
"What goes first is that I'm a teammate," Pena said. "He's actually a personal friend more than anything. We just kind of try to help each other out. ... He had an unbelievable year in Triple-A, and he deserves to be here. I'm very happy to have him."
Quade pleased with bullpen's performance
CHICAGO -- In a season of disappointment, Cubs manager Mike Quade knows he can rely on one thing: his bullpen.
"They're good," he said. "They're real good."
Quade's 'pen has indeed been good as of late, posting a 1.10 ERA (five earned runs over 41 innings) in the team's last 14 games, dating back to Aug. 17. They have held opponents to a .156 batting average, with 36 strikeouts, compared to 11 walks in that span.
"They've been called on a lot," Quade said. "Not too much, which I am proud of. I think we've done a nice job trying to make sure -- in spite of all of our struggles -- that those guys have been rested and fresh."
The reason Quade has been able to keep his relievers fresh is because he, for the most part, has had consistent outings from each of his hurlers from the 'pen.
"I've got five or six options," Quade said. "That's been, to me, why we've been able to measure it out as well as we can without really taxing guys. It's because of the depth.
"It's fun to manage when you've got that kind of depth in the bullpen. Not just quality, but depth."
Sam Zuba is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.