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Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Zambrano would be "stretched out" so he can be switched from short to long relief. Could that move signal his eventual return to the rotation?
"He [Lou Piniella] told me today there may be a chance I'll go back to the rotation," Zambrano said. "We'll see how everything works out in the next few days for me."
Since joining the bullpen on April 24, Zambrano has pitched in eight games and has a 6.23 ERA. When asked if Zambrano was headed back to the rotation, Piniella didn't offer a timetable.
"Probably down the road if need be," he said. "We thought the outcome would be a little different. He's not comfortable in the bullpen pitching short. We're going to use him in a different role, build up some stamina, build up his arm. That's what we're going to do."
|Carlos Zambrano has been pitching out of the bullpen since April 24.|
Thing is, Cub starters are averaging better than six innings per outing so it doesn't seem like there is much "long relief" duty to be had. Unless we're talking about mop-up duty in those lost cause games, in which case I'd say that having an $18MM-a-year Mop-Up Man seems a lot sillier than having an $18MM-a-year Setup Guy.
Like just about everything involving this team this year, the Zambrano situation should be fascinating, if not actually enjoyable, to watch.