Carlos Zambrano loses in his return to the starting rotation

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Carlos Zambrano throwing.jpgCarlos Zambrano took the loss in his return to the starting rotation against the Astros on Friday night, allowing three runs on six hits over 4 1/3 innings while striking out three and walking three. He was pulled after throwing 85 pitches.

While his overall line doesn’t look all that impressive, he was much better after a shaky 34-pitch first inning. The final two runs were charged to him after he was relieved by Tom Gorzelanny in the fifth inning.

Despite the loss, “Big Z” told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that he was happy with his effort.

“The most important thing was my fastball was good today, my sinker was
good,” Zambrano said. “That’s the important thing about me. Team-wise,
we’re just not playing good. We just need to score more runs.”

He’s right. The Cubs have lost four consecutive games and have scored two runs or less in each of them.

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
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Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.

The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.