Cubs' Zambrano leaves with shoulder issue, will have MRI

Carlos Zambrano was scuffling in Tampa on Wednesday and it looks like there was a physical reason why.

The Chicago Cubs' ace left after throwing one pitch to the
Rays' Eric Hinske in the seventh inning with what the club later called discomfort in his right pitching shoulder.

The two-time NL All-Star will fly Thursday to Chicago, and according to MLB.com he will see team orthopedic specialist Dr. Steven Gryzlo and have an MRI examination. The team expects to have an update on his condition by Friday.

"At this point I don't know nothing. We'll see what happens tomorrow," Zambrano said, adding that his shoulder was feeling better. "Hopefully it's nothing bad."

Catcher Geovany Soto motioned for manager Lou Piniella to head out to the mound after Zambrano threw his last pitch and grimaced.

"It was out of the blue. I saw something funny. He made a funny face, and I went out there. I knew something was wrong," Soto said.

Zambrano had felt something odd.

"There was a funny pitch that I felt something in my arm, and then the last pitch I threw in the game to Hinske, I dropped my arm a lot because I couldn't go back to the top of my arm," he said, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Although Zambrano tried to convince Piniella to let him remain in the game, which the Cubs lost 5-4, the manager didn't want to take any unnecessary chances.

"He was convincing," said Piniella, who appeared to be ready to allow the pitcher to continue before changing his mind. "We did the right thing getting him out, obviously."

According to the Tribune, Zambrano thought this discomfort was related to neck soreness that he felt on May 17 in Pittsburgh. He said he hoped to make his next scheduled start in Baltimore on Tuesday.

Zambrano threw 100 pitches over 6 2/3 innings on Wednesday, allowing seven hits and four earned runs while walking four and striking out two.

He gave up five hits and walked two while giving up four runs in the bottom of the third inning. The Rays went up 5-2, but Zambrano appeared to settle down before the seventh. He left trailing 5-3 as the Cubs went on to lose their second straight to the Rays.

The Cubs also lost center fielder Jim Edmonds in the fourth inning to soreness in his left foot. Chicago was already short-handed in the outfield. Reed Johnson did not start due to back stiffness after a collision with Rays first baseman Manny Aybar during the ninth inning Tuesday night.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.