7/23 Zambrano update

The reports following Carlos Zambrano’s first outing were encouraging but the pitcher still has work to do before he’ll be reinstated with the Cubs. Zambrano, who is on the restricted list, threw 15 pitches in one inning for Triple-A Iowa on Thursday, giving up two singles.

“He threw the ball OK,” Lou Piniella said Friday. “[The report said] his velocity was in the 91, 92 [mph] range and he competed and that he could use more work.”

Zambrano did not talk to the media after the outing and Piniella said the pitcher should probably address his teammates first.

“I think it’s more important for him to clear that hurdle first and once he does that, then he can talk to the media,” Piniella said. “I think that’s the right approach for him.

“Whenever he gets here, we’ll have a little meeting and let Carlos say what he needs to say,” Piniella said.

Zambrano went with Iowa to Round Rock for a weekend series and was expected to stay with the Minor League team for the next series in Albuquerque. Piniella did not expect Zambrano to rejoin the Cubs until July 30 when the team is in Colorado.

“He hasn’t been out there in three weeks or so,” Piniella said of the right-hander, who hasn’t pitched since June 25. “That’s a long time. I think you get the rustiness out of him first and then he can start getting ready strength-wise to pitch the way he’s capable of. Let’s not put too much into the first few appearances. It’s been awhile for him.”

— Carrie Muskat

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