Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano has completed his team-prescribed anger management therapy and has reported to the club’s spring training complex in Arizona to begin working toward a return to the big leagues.
It’s about time, really. Big Z was suspended indefinitely by the Cubs close to three weeks ago and he has at least another two weeks of rehab ahead.
Soon after he was placed on the restricted list, the Cubs announced that Zambrano would be returning as a reliever and not a starter, so that may speed things up. But he will almost certainly need to pitch in a few minor league games to get his endurance and mechanics in check.
The 29-year-old right-hander had a 5.66 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP in 22 outings (nine starts) before his June 25 dugout tirade. He is under contract with the Cubs through 2013.
Blue Jays starter Matt Shoemaker has been diagnosed with a left knee sprain following his early departure from Saturday’s game. He’s scheduled to undergo an MRI on Sunday, after which the club will be able to determine the extent of his injury and draw up a more definite timeline for his return to the mound.
The right-hander held the A’s scoreless through three innings of three-hit, one-strikeout ball on Saturday. In the bottom of the third, with two outs and Matt Chapman on first, Shoemaker helped complete an inning-ending putout after Chapman tried to steal second. He tagged Chapman between first and second base, but appeared to twist his leg in the process and immediately started limping away.
Shoemaker was helped off the field after the play and was swiftly replaced by righty Sam Gaviglio in the bottom of the fourth. This is the first serious injury the 32-year-old has sustained since he underwent forearm surgery and missed nearly all of his 2018 campaign with the Angels. While he’s not expected to be sidelined for quite as long this time around, it’s still a concerning setback for the Blue Jays’ no. 2 starter, who currently boasts a sterling 1.57 ERA, 2.8 BB/9, and 7.5 SO/9 through his first 28 2/3 innings of 2019.
The Blue Jays will undoubtedly feel the lack of Shoemaker’s presence over the next few days, but they managed deliver a blowout win on Saturday even without his help. Behind six innings of one-run ball from Gaviglio and Elvis Luciano, the offense mustered up 10 runs — the most they’ve collected in a single game all season — and kept the A’s hardest hits at bay with impressive catches from Billy McKinney and Freddy Galvis.