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.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.
The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.
The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.
Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.
Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.
In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.