11/3 Keeping an eye on Big Z

The Cubs will have someone in Venezuela on Sunday to watch Carlos Zambrano when the right-hander makes his first start for Caribes. Zambrano has not pitched in a game since Aug. 12. The right-hander was ejected from that game in Atlanta, then left the ballpark, saying he was retiring. He has since said the retirement talk was made out of frustration after serving up five home runs to the Braves. He was placed on the 30-day restricted list and did not rejoin the Cubs. Zambrano tuned up for his Venezuelan Winter League start with a 40-pitch outing on Tuesday.

“I think it’s a good thing [that he’s pitching] under the circumstances,” Theo Epstein said Thursday. “He probably needs the innings. It could be good for his state of mind to get out there and perform.”

Epstein has talked to Zambrano’s agent, Barry Praver, and would like to talk to the pitcher next week if possible.

— Carrie Muskat

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