Zambrano throws two scoreless innings at Triple-A Iowa

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Carlos Zambrano took another big step toward returning from his team-issued suspension on Saturday night with two scoreless innings of relief for Triple-A Iowa.  This according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.

Big Z used 29 pitches.  He allowed only one hit and struck out three while also notching his first minor-league hold.  Zambrano will make one more rehab appearance — maybe two — before rejoining the Cubs next weekend.  He will work as a reliever once he is cleared to return to the big leagues.

Zambrano has not spoken to the media since his June 25 dugout tirade and is not expected to do so before he returns to the majors.  That’s probably for the best.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.