Carlos Zambrano promised move to bullpen is temporary

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Thumbnail image for carlos zambrano.jpgCarlos Zambrano told Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com that Cubs manager Lou Piniella promised him that his move to the bullpen will only be temporary as general manager Jim Hendry searches for a set-up man.

“Yeah, that’s what [Cubs manager] Lou [Piniella] said, that’s what we
agreed [upon],” Zambrano said. “They are looking for a setup man. That’s
what they told me. I don’t think I’ll be here [in the bullpen] too long
in this role. But I will be there when they need me.”

Hendry, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have a sense of urgency to change course.

“I never predict whether or not we’re going to acquire anybody or not,”
Hendry said. “I don’t have a time frame. This is just the best decision
for the club. A month from now we might have an injury or someone might
slip up, things can change.”

Though they haven’t been linked in talks yet, one possibility for the bullpen is right-hander Juan Cruz, who was inexplicably released by the Royals last week. Cruz was pretty awful last season, but remember that he still touches the mid 90s on his fastball and is just two years removed from a 2.61 ERA with the Diamondbacks.

Big Z made his debut out of the bullpen on Saturday, allowing one run
over 1 1/3 innings. After resting on Sunday, Piniella said the $17 million reliever is available for Monday night’s game
against the Nationals.
 

Report: Mariners have interest in Reds’ Jay Bruce

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 14:  Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds waits to bat prior to hitting a three-run homer in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 14, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.

Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.

Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.

The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, tying an NL record

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 16:  Adam Rosales #9 of the San Diego Padres hits an RBI single during the tenth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at PETCO Park on July 16, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.

The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.

As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.