Carlos Zambrano prepared for his move back to the rotation with a 73-pitch simulated game Monday and is now scheduled to start against the Pirates during a three-game series that begins Monday.
Exactly which game he’ll start and who he’ll bump from the rotation is unclear, and Piniella indicated that Zambrano may still be available out of the bullpen in the meantime:
We don’t have to concern ourselves with it until next week, and we have some days off coming up. It’ll be a fairly smooth transition. We’ll use him short with the idea that on this coming road trip, we’ll insert him into the rotation. He’s ready to go. His velocity was good. He worked on his split finger, worked on his cutter. He had a nice workout, a real nice workout.
Zambrano has allowed six runs on 16 hits in 11.1 innings as a reliever, and in addition to his lackluster performance the fact that the Cubs used him for just 11.1 innings in the 27 games he’s been in the bullpen points to why it was such a bad decision to move him there in the first place.
Carrie Muskat of MLB.com speculates that Tom Gorzelanny “may be the odd man out of the rotation” because Carlos Silva is likely bump-proof at 6-0. Of course, with a 3.09 ERA and 48/17 K/BB ratio in 46.2 innings Gorzelanny isn’t exactly screaming for a demotion either. He’ll start tonight against the Dodgers.