Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano has completed his team-prescribed anger management therapy and has reported to the club’s spring training complex in Arizona to begin working toward a return to the big leagues.
It’s about time, really. Big Z was suspended indefinitely by the Cubs close to three weeks ago and he has at least another two weeks of rehab ahead.
Soon after he was placed on the restricted list, the Cubs announced that Zambrano would be returning as a reliever and not a starter, so that may speed things up. But he will almost certainly need to pitch in a few minor league games to get his endurance and mechanics in check.
The 29-year-old right-hander had a 5.66 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP in 22 outings (nine starts) before his June 25 dugout tirade. He is under contract with the Cubs through 2013.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.