Despite repeatedly using Carlos Zambrano in a setup role after proclaiming that Zambrano would move to a long relief role in advance of a return to the rotation, Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella is sticking to his word: Carlos Zambrano will be stretched out and returned to the rotation.
Zambrano, working his way back to the rotation because he prefers to start [ed: Phil Rogers wrote this, and I have no idea what he means by it], is scheduled to throw 60-65 pitches in a simulated game at Wrigley Field on Monday. He’s been pitching well out of the bullpen lately, including a strong 1 1-3-inning stint on Friday.
Manager Lou Piniella was asked if he would use Zambrano again in the series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, if he needed him to win a game, and after a long pause said he would not.
“When I give the player my word on something, I follow through with it,” Piniella said. “I think that means I’m going to rest him until Monday. I told him he would pitch in [Philadelphia], and I told him we could use him in this series. He’s done his part; I’m going to do mine.”
Piniella reported that Tom Gorzelanny got in a good workout on Saturday after taking a line drive off his pitching hand Wednesday at Philadelphia. The off day on Monday gives Piniella the option to essentially skip him this time through the rotation, especially with Zambrano’s return on the horizon, but Piniella didn’t sound like Gorzelanny would be the odd man out.
“He was throwing in Chicago, and he felt fine,” Piniella said of Gorzelanny, who is 2-4 with a 3.09 ERA in eight starts. “We’re going to get Z back in the rotation … and [after the Monday simulated game] we’ll have some decisions to make.”
Piniella ruled out a six-man rotation, meaning that one of the thus far solid starters will have to be traded, demoted or moved to the bullpen to clear room for Zambrano. Piniella isn’t sure how it will sort itself out.
“I won’t have any more until Zambrano throws Monday,” Piniella said. “We’ll see how he is when he comes to the ballpark Tuesday, and see how it shakes out.” Chicago Breaking Sports.
Piniella suggested late last week that the odd man out would be Randy Wells, but after another very good outing last night against a red-hot Rangers offense, it’s hard to imagine Wells getting the boot.
But… it’s got to be someone. A trade is what should happen, but the move might not be there. Every team in the league knows the Cubs would like to move a starter, and the Cubs aren’t looking to get bent over.