Carlos Zambrano is “expected” to return to the Chicago Cubs at some point, though at present, no one with the Cubs has yet spoken to him. When – and if – he does return, he’ll be put in the bullpen. Probably for good.

Manager Lou Piniella says he expects the volatile pitcher to return at some point after blow-up with Derrek Lee on Friday that put his future with the team in doubt. Piniella, speaking before Saturday’s game, says Zambrano will pitch out of the bullpen when he returns, and the move is “not short-term, that’s for sure.”

Tom Gorzelanny will take his spot in the rotation. CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.

Some folks at Sons of Ivy are speculating that moving Zambrano to the bullpen permanently is born of a desire to ensure that when the team manages to put together a trade for Zambrano, he waives his no trade clause.

I don’t think that’s necessarily incorrect – but there are other considerations. Putting Z in the bullpen necessarily makes him less attractive to trade partners (assuming any team is actually willing to take on a guy like Zambrano, even at an extremely reduced rate). It would be better if he could somehow string together a couple good starts.

Further, putting him in the bullpen may simply be a matter of his terrible, terrible performance as a starter.