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.
Mike Napoli suffered a torn right ACL and meniscus while playing for Triple-A Columbus the other night. The injury will require season-ending surgery.
Given that Napoli will turn 37 this year, given that he will need 10-14 months of rehab and given that, as it was, he was unable to find a major league gig, it’s almost certain that this injury will end Napoli’s career.
Napoli was off to a 1-for-24 start at Columbus after signing a minor league contract with the Indians this spring. He hit .193/.285/.428 for the Rangers in 2017. If this is it for Napoli, he’ll end his career with a line of .246/.346/.475 with 267 homers and 744 driven in. He appeared in the World Series with the 2011 Rangers, the 2013 Red Sox and the 2016 Indians, winning a ring with Boston.