Carlos Zambrano took another big step toward returning from his team-issued suspension on Saturday night with two scoreless innings of relief for Triple-A Iowa. This according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
Big Z used 29 pitches. He allowed only one hit and struck out three while also notching his first minor-league hold. Zambrano will make one more rehab appearance — maybe two — before rejoining the Cubs next weekend. He will work as a reliever once he is cleared to return to the big leagues.
Zambrano has not spoken to the media since his June 25 dugout tirade and is not expected to do so before he returns to the majors. That’s probably for the best.
In a less-notable move on Friday, the Rays acquired right-hander Wilmer Font from the Athletics in exchange for minor league right-hander Peter Bayer. Font was designated for assignment by the A’s on Wednesday.
This is the second trade involving the righty since the start of the season. The Athletics acquired 28-year-old Font from the Dodgers in late April, but were underwhelmed by his performance after he racked up 11 runs, five home runs, four walks and nine strikeouts in his first 6 2/3 innings of relief. While the rookie has yet to prove himself at the big league level, he posted a much more respectable pitching line with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in 2017, going 10-8 in 25 starts with a 3.42 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 11.9 SO/9 in 134 1/3 innings. It’s still unclear whether the Rays intend to give him another opportunity in the majors this year or use him as depth in the minors.
Bayer, 24, is still a ways away from cracking any major league roster. He advanced to High-A Charlotte prior to the trade and allowed eight runs, two homers, six walks and six strikeouts in his first four innings.