Carlos Zambrano rejoining rotation next week

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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.

Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston

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David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.

Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.

In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.

Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”

MIAMI - MARCH 14:  Venezuela fans cheer with a country flag while taking on the Netherlands during round 2 of the World Baseball Classic at Dolphin Stadium on March 14, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.

The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:

“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”

As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.

It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.