Carlos Zambrano prepared for his move back to the rotation with a 73-pitch simulated game Monday and is now scheduled to start against the Pirates during a three-game series that begins Monday.
Exactly which game he’ll start and who he’ll bump from the rotation is unclear, and Piniella indicated that Zambrano may still be available out of the bullpen in the meantime:
We don’t have to concern ourselves with it until next week, and we have some days off coming up. It’ll be a fairly smooth transition. We’ll use him short with the idea that on this coming road trip, we’ll insert him into the rotation. He’s ready to go. His velocity was good. He worked on his split finger, worked on his cutter. He had a nice workout, a real nice workout.
Zambrano has allowed six runs on 16 hits in 11.1 innings as a reliever, and in addition to his lackluster performance the fact that the Cubs used him for just 11.1 innings in the 27 games he’s been in the bullpen points to why it was such a bad decision to move him there in the first place.
Carrie Muskat of MLB.com speculates that Tom Gorzelanny “may be the odd man out of the rotation” because Carlos Silva is likely bump-proof at 6-0. Of course, with a 3.09 ERA and 48/17 K/BB ratio in 46.2 innings Gorzelanny isn’t exactly screaming for a demotion either. He’ll start tonight against the Dodgers.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.
Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias hasn’t appeared in a Grapefruit League game since March 14 and now we know why. He injured his right elbow and both hips falling in the shower three weeks ago, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. He has had anti-inflammatory shots applied in both areas and he’ll be be shut down from pitching for a few more days.
Iglesias might not be ready for Opening Day, according to manager Bryan Price. Iglesias, however, thinks otherwise. He said, “I’m going to be OK. I’m probably going to throw one bullpen, and after that, mentally and physically, I’ll be ready to join the season and compete.”
Price said throughout the offseason that he intended to pick his closer according to the matchups rather than naming one official closer. As a result, this injury likely doesn’t change much except that Michael Lorenzen, Drew Storen, and Tony Cingrani may get a few more early season save chances if Iglesias doesn’t start the season on time.
Iglesias, 27, finished last season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings across five starts and 32 relief appearances.