Zambrano joining up with Triple-A Iowa this week

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Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano completed a three-week anger management program on Thursday and was sent to the club’s spring training complex in Mesa, Florida to begin working his way back to the big leagues.

That process took a big leap forward this morning, as it was announced by the Des Moines Register that Big Z will be joining up with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs on either Tuesday or Wednesday to begin throwing in live games.  Zambrano is being brought back as a reliever, so it shouldn’t take him long to build endurance and work out any kinks that have developed in his delivery.

The right-hander, of course, was suspended indefinitely by the Cubs in late June for going on a tirade in the dugout after a rough outing.  He had a 5.66 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP in 22 outings (nine starts) before the unfortunate incident.

Masahiro Tanaka throws two-hit shutout vs. Rays

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Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka went the distance, holding the Rays scoreless on two hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts across nine innings on Monday night in the Bronx. It’s the fourth shutout of his career, accounting for four of the Yankees’ last six shutouts. The other two were thrown my Luis Severino and Brandon McCarthy.

DJ LeMahieu provided the bulk of the offense, swatting a two-run home run off of Yonny Chirinos in the third inning. Cameron Maybin tacked on a solo homer off of Chirinos in the fifth as the Yankees went on to win 3-0.

After Monday’s performance, Tanaka owns a 3.23 ERA with 84 strikeouts and 20 walks across 92 innings on the season.

With the win, the Yankees increase their lead over the Rays for first place in the AL East to 1.5 games.