Zambrano will pitch from bullpen when he returns

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The Cubs suspended Carlos Zambrano indefinitely on Friday after he blew up in the dugout, getting in the face of first baseman Derrek Lee and turning over a water cooler.  Now the punishment continues.

According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, Zambrano will not return to the Cubs’ starting rotation once he is activated from his club-assigned suspension.  He will head back to the bullpen, where he spent part of April and all of May.

Big Z has posted a 4.15 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP this season in 14.1 innings as a reliever and a 3-5 record, a 6.12 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP as a starter.  To be blunt, he’s pretty awful these days no matter the role. 

The Cubs have not made immediate plans to fill his rotation spot, nor have they called up a player to take Zambrano’s place on the 25-man roster.  Some changes will need to be made by early next week.

Cubs sign sinkerballer Steve Cishek

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Cubs have signed reliever Steve Cishek. No details about the deal are known yet. For what it’s worth, most relievers are signing two-year deals so far this winter and Cishek’s last deal was a two-year pact.

Cishek, 31-year-old sidearmer who throws a surprisingly fast sinkerball, posted a 2.01 ERA and a 41/14 K/BB ratio and allowed just 26 hits in 44.2 innings between the Mariners and Rays last season. He saved 25 games for the M’s in 2016. Last year he missed the first month and a half of the season following hip surgery, but seemed pretty healthy later in the year.

A nice pickup for Chicago.