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 Mets told Jay Bruce that the club plans on having him open the season as the everyday right fielder, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. This comes as no surprise after the Mets failed to get any bites after dangling Bruce as a trade chip. The Mets reportedly wanted a pair of prospects in exchange for Bruce.
With Bruce in right, Yoenis Cespedes back in left, and Curtis Granderson in center, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out. He’ll either warm the bench or head back to Triple-A Las Vegas for regular at-bats.
Bruce, who turns 30 years old in April, had a rough final two months of the 2016 season after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. He hit a paltry .219/.294/.391 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 187 plate appearances. Bruce, apparently, wanted to go anywhere but in New York.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.