7/15 Big Z works out in Mesa

Carlos Zambrano has started his comeback, reporting to the Cubs facility in Mesa to workout. Zambrano, who is on the restricted list to undergo treatment for anger issues, threw about 25 pitches on the side Thursday in Mesa. Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild and athletic trainer Mark O’Neal will monitor Zambrano’s workout program.

“When he completes that, he’ll be sent somewhere next week sometime,” GM Jim Hendry said of the next phase. “He has been throwing, he told us, but at the same time you have to monitor it yourself.”

When Zambrano does return, he will be assigned to the bullpen. He has not thrown in a game since June 25 when he lasted one inning against the White Sox and then threw a tantrum in the dugout. He was suspended for three days and then placed on the restricted list.

There’s no date set for Zambrano’s return.

“He needs to get work in and when our pitching people down there communicate with Larry that it’s time to get him in some games, we’ll send him to some,” Hendry said.

How’s his attitude? Hendry said he didn’t speak to the pitcher but he reported ready to go.

“He’s paid a dear price for his actions that day and he’ll act accordingly from now on,” Hendry said.

There are no plans to breakup the Cubs rotation and insert Zambrano in there.

“We’re just going to put him in the bullpen to start with,” Lou Piniella said. “He’s a ways away.”

— Carrie Muskat

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