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gods-wrathChicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano’s back injury proved just a little too much to handled. Thus, the Cubs have sent him to the disabled list.

“He went home today,” general manager Jim Hendry said before Saturday’s game. “We put him on the DL. He’s getting an MRI either tonight or tomorrow morning, but you’ve had two [incidents] like that in a row, so obviously something’s wrong. And at the same time, you get to be pitching short.”

Zambrano lasted only three innings in his previous start, last Saturday in Miami, and left that game with lower back stiffness. He had been symptom-free up until his pregame warmup Friday.

“He’s had some on-and-off issues in the past, but he was fine all week,” Hendry said. “I talked to [Cubs director of athletic training] Mark O’Neal every day. I saw [Zambrano] in Cincinnati. He was fine. He took BP.”

Given the fact that Zambrano felt fine up until batting practice then had the back problems when he started his warmup throws shortly afterward, there is some concern that his typically vigorous displays in the batting cage could be related to the back problem. Manager Lou Piniella indicated that if the MRI suggested a connection to Zambrano’s batting practice, that part of his routine would be “curtailed.” cubs.com.

I’m sure that would be a fun conversation: telling Carlos Zambrano to stop swinging so hard.

The Cubs recalled Jeff Stevens from Iowa to take Zambrano’s spot on the roster, and Jeff Samardzija will temporarily take Zambrano’s spot in the rotation. The plan is for his time in the rotation to last exactly one start – against the Phillies on Wednesday – and then Ted Lilly will hopefully be back.

Zambrano will be eligible to return on August 17, as the Cubs can backdate his time to the last time he pitched, August 1 in Florida.

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