Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano was lifted from his Thursday afternoon start against the Giants due to soreness in his lower back and now word comes from MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat that he had to be taken to a local hospital to undergo an MRI.
The Cubs are optimistic that Big Z won’t need to miss any time and the 30-year-old told reporters after the hospital visit that he’s pitched through similar back problems in the past, but there’s no way of knowing Zambrano’s exact status until the MRI results are reviewed by team physicians on Friday morning.
Zambrano, 30, has an unremarkable 4.34 ERA and 1.37 WHIP through 18 starts this season, with 75 strikeouts and 42 walks in 112 innings. But, as best we know, he hasn’t gone on any dugout tirades or destroyed any Gatorade-dispensing machines at Wrigley Field.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.