Zambrano to rejoin Cubs
Manager Lou Piniella wasn’t concerned that Zambrano gave up three runs in an inning against Albuquerque on Tuesday night.
“The reports were that he threw the ball better than the results,” Piniella said. “He hit a batter, walked a batter, should’ve turned a double play ball and (gave up) a couple of bloop singles. The reports were he threw the ball better than the outcome and that’s really what we’re concerned about more than anything else.”
Zambrano made four appearances during a rehab assignment that followed his trip to the restricted list. He’s expected to speak to the team before Friday’s game, clearing the last hurdle to his return to the big leagues after his meltdown in the U.S. Cellular Field dugout.
“It will be good to put it behind us,” said Derrek Lee, who was a target of Zambrano’s wrath. “I really don’t think it will be a big issue.”
Ted Lilly remains the focus of trade rumors involving the Phillies, who also are exploring a deal for the Astros’ Roy Oswalt. … The Cubs’ bullpen was a mess in the Astros series. Relievers allowed 12 runs and 16 hits in 8 2/3 innings. One of the guys who was hit hard—most likely Brian Schilitter—will be sent to Iowa to clear room for Zambrano. “We have options,” Piniella said. … Geovany Soto was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game, but Piniella said he could have played if he had been needed. … Tyler Colvin moved from the leadoff spot to the No. 3 hole, but Piniella indicated he could be anchored in the leadoff spot when the regular lineup plays. “He’s not a third hitter,” Piniella said. “The way our club is set up, we don’t really have what you would classify as a legitimate first hitter. If we hit him first and let him get at-bats, he can run and he can hit the ball out of the ballpark. He has done a nice job. His on-base percentage needs to be improved, but that will come with time.”