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.

Video: Cole Tucker’s first MLB hit is a two-run homer

Cole Tucker
AP Images
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Pirates prospect shortstop Cole Tucker stepped up for an injured Erik González on Saturday and wasted little time proving that he was ready to shoulder major-league responsibilities. After starting the game 0-for-2, Tucker pounced on Derek Holland‘s 2-2 sinker and sent it out to center field for a two-run shot in the fifth inning.

Following the tie-breaking blast, Tucker responded to cheers from the crowd with… perhaps a little more ceremony than the occasion required. He was the second of the Pirates’ prospects to record his first major-league hit during the game, as outfielder Bryan Reynolds also hit a single off of Holland in the fourth.

Jung Ho Kang struck out to end the inning, after which a rain delay was called. The Pirates currently lead the Giants 3-1.