Hitting machine

Carlos Zambrano is retiring from pitching to become a full-time hitter.

“I’ll go to the Minor Leagues, take some at-bats, come back as a right fielder, left fielder,” Zambrano said Saturday. “We can move [Alfonso] Soriano to second base.”

Take a deep breath, Cubs fans. He was joking.

“Let’s talk about pitching,” Zambrano said.

Why all the talk about hitting? On Friday, Dodgers manager Joe Torre inserted pitcher Randy Wolf into the No. 2 spot in the lineup against the Cubs to get him more at-bats. One of the first things Zambrano did Saturday was check to see where he was batting in the Cubs’ lineup, hoping to bat third.

Instead, manager Lou Piniella stuck to tradition and kept the right-hander ninth. That’s what led to the discussion on Zambrano’s unlikely conversion to an outfielder.

– Carrie Muskat

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