CHICAGO -- Carlos Zambrano could not avoid the disabled list, even though he dodged a major injury.
The Chicago Cubs placed their star pitcher on the 15-day disabled list with a minor right shoulder strain Saturday and expect him to miss two starts.
"There's nothing wrong," Zambrano said. "We just have to be careful, take some time, give it a rest, come back stronger."
Big Z gave the Cubs a big scare when he left Wednesday night's game at Tampa Bay because of discomfort in his right shoulder. He was examined Thursday in Chicago and underwent an MRI arthrogram on Friday. The test, in which dye is injected into the troubled area to provide a more detailed look, revealed no major structural damage.
The DL stint is the second for Zambrano, who missed nearly a month in 2002 with a strained right elbow.
The Cubs recalled infielder Eric Patterson from Triple-A Iowa, and general manager Jim Hendry said they will shuffle the roster again before Tuesday's game against Baltimore, when they will recall left-hander Sean Marshall to start in Zambrano's place.
Zambrano also will miss a start against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field next weekend.
"Obviously, we're very relieved about yesterday's MRI announcement," Hendry said. "As you would expect, Carlos once he got the good news felt like he could go if not Tuesday the one after."
Zambrano won a career-high 18 games in 2007 and was off to a strong start for the NL Central leaders, going 8-3 with a 3.13 ERA in 16 starts. But the two-time NL All-Star winced after throwing a pitch in the seventh inning on Wednesday, leaving the pitcher and the organization a bit nervous.
"I was a little worried," Zambrano said. "This never happened to me."
Even so, Zambrano lobbied to stay in the game. And on Saturday, he lobbied against going on the disabled list.
"He wasn't real pleased with me right away but we talked through it," Hendry said. "By tomorrow he'll be using it as a chance to work on his hitting."
Zambrano said the Cubs made the right decision.
"In this case, the most powerful word is the doctors' and trainers'," he said. "They want the best for me. ... We've been playing good. We have a good team. They will do a good job."