4/21 Big Z to the pen
When Carlos Zambrano got to Citi Field on Wednesday, Lou Piniella called him into the office. The message: We want you in the bullpen to make room for Ted Lilly in the rotation and add some experience. The Cubs have had trouble getting to closer Carlos Marmol.
“We’ll have a Carlos set-up guy and a Carlos closer,” Piniella said.
The meeting went well.
“I talked to Carlos [Zambrano] today and told him we really needed him in the bullpen and that we felt he could do a nice job for us,” Piniella said. “He said he’d do what’s best for the team. I’m very appreciative. He talked about maturing [this year]. This proves it to me.”
When Zambrano, 28, came up in the big leagues in 2002, he was used in relief in the first half of the season. He has not pitched in relief since then. The move is temporary, Piniella said. Zambrano, who is 1-2 with a 7.45 ERA in four starts, already has set his sights on starting in the postseason.
“I told Lou I want to help this team until you find somebody,” Zambrano said. “I told him I want to be back for the playoffs. If we go to the playoffs, I want to go back to the rotation.”
So, he will start again this year?
“Like [Arnold] Schwarzenegger says, I will be back,” Zambrano said.
— Carrie Muskat