4/25 Zambrano: "I feel good"

Carlos Zambrano chose not to talk after Saturday’s game, which was his first appearance as a relief pitcher since 2002. We’re hoping he chats on Sunday. Big Z did say, “I feel good. That’s it.” Guess he’ll let his pitching do the talking.

“It’s unbelievable that him being the stature that he is says, ‘Hey, whatever for the team,'” Marlon Byrd said. “You have to absolutely love that. It’s a team — 25 men. We go out there together.”

Zambrano had made 241 starts since his last relief appearance on June 28, 2002, including throwing a no-hitter at Miller Park on Sept. 14, 2008, against the Houston Astros in a game relocated because of a hurricane. This was the ninth time in his career that he has thrown 1 1/3 or more innings of relief. His career-high is 2 1/3 innings, Aug. 20, 2002, against Cincinnati.

“Having a guy like that coming in the eighth inning, knowing you’ve got [Carlos] Marmol next, that’s great for the team,” Aramis Ramirez said. “Every winning team has to have that in the pen to be a championship caliber team.”

It doesn’t hurt that the new set-up man also can hit. He came through with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

“I think he enjoyed that,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said of the at-bat.

— Carrie Muskat

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