Big Z to rejoin Cubs' starting rotation Wednesday

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zambrano headshot.jpgVeteran right-hander Carlos Zambrano was moved to the bullpen in late April in a highly criticized move by manager Lou Piniella and the Cubs front office.  According to the Chicago Tribune’s Dave van Dyck, that will all change Wednesday when he rejoins the starting rotation and faces the Pirates.

Big Z allowed six earned runs and 16 hits in 13 innings as a reliever for the Cubs and opposing hitters batted .301 against him, but Piniella seems to think he’s shown signs of confidence and will do well in his return to starting.

“He’s been throwing the ball well here the last 10 days or so. Now we need for him to carry it over into the rotation and then win some ballgames for us,” Piniella said.  “He’ll make our rotation stronger if he pitches the way he’s capable of pitching.  So let’s see what happens.”

Tom Gorzelanny, 2-5 with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP through nine starts this season, will be moved to the bullpen to clear room.  It seems like a misguided move, but moving Zambrano to a relief role made no sense in the first place.  Two wrongs make a right?

Aaron Judge out of Yankees starting lineup for finale after No. 62

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Yankees slugger Aaron Judge wasn’t in the starting lineup for New York’s regular-season finale, a day after his 62nd home run that broke Roger Maris’ 61-year-old American League single-season record.

When Judge homered in the first inning Tuesday night, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers, it was his 55th consecutive game. He has played in 157 games overall for the AL East champions.

With the first-round bye in the playoffs, the Yankees won’t open postseason play until the AL Division Series starts next Tuesday.

Even though Judge had indicated that he hoped to play Wednesday, manager Aaron Boone said after Tuesday night’s game that they would have a conversation and see what made the most sense.

“Short conversation,” Boone said before Wednesday’s game, adding that he was “pretty set on probably giving him the day today.”

Asked if there was a scenario in which Judge would pinch hit, Boone responded, “I hope not.”

Judge went into the final day of the regular season batting .311, trailing American League batting average leader Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315. Judge was a wide leader in the other Triple Crown categories, with his 62 homers and 131 RBIs.

Boone said that “probably the one temptation” to play Judge had been the long shot chance the slugger had to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.