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David Brown

Zambrano set for LASIK, says seeing is the most important thing

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Did the catcher put down one finger or two?

Carlos Zambrano expects to have much more confidence in answering that question once he undergoes LASIK laser surgery on his eyes early next month.

While attending the annual Cubs Convention this past weekend, Zambrano admitted his 2008 season — which included an All-Star Game appearance, career highs at the plate and his first no-hitter — looked "fuzzy" to him.

"My eyes have been bothering me for a while," Zambrano said, especially his right one. "I have to take care of that because I have to see the strike zone good. That's part of my job."

Doctors gave Zambrano a prescription for contact lenses this past season, but he has aversion to putting them in his eyes. He also doesn't like to wear glasses.

Does that mean he pitched a no-no without really being able to see?

"I think so, yeah," said Zambrano, who won 14 games and had a career-low walks-per-IP rate.

And what about the .337 batting average? The nine extra-base hits? The 14 RBIs?

"I just close my eyes and I hit the ball," Zambrano said.

Zambrano has a rich history of unusual, annoying and funny but minor injuries, some of which were made worse by his refusal to do what's right. Like, for example, drinking more water to avoid cramping.

C'mon, Big Z.

The above photo illustration imagines what might happen to Zambrano's face were he to wear specs (they're sort of a cross between Ricky Vaughn and Harry Caray) to correct his vision.

I think they look nice.

No matter, because Zambrano's surgery, scheduled for right before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, is expected to bring everything into focus. He might have to skip playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, though.

"I have to see how I'm feeling," Zambrano said.

Maybe this also means his visions of the future, which in '07 included a World Series triumph for the Cubs (FAIL) and Cy Young success for himself (FAIL), will also be sharper.

This much is certain: Once Zambrano's vision is corrected for good we'll be able to call him Big See.

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