Carlos Zambrano wins for first time since late June

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Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano has struggled this season in more ways than one.  Through 70 innings — 11 starts, 16 relief appearances — he has posted a 5.27 ERA, 1.77 WHIP and 38 walks against 63 strikeouts.  Oh, and there was that little incident back in June that cost him a month.

Perhaps some progress was made on Saturday.  Big Z limited the division rival Cardinals to two earned runs over 5.2 innings on a steamy day at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium, allowing his Cubs to grab a 3-2 victory.  He struck out three batters and issued only two walks.

As the Associated Press notes, it was his first victory since June 20.  It was also his first sign of life since his team-issued suspension.

Zambrano is owed $18 million annually through 2014, which will make a trade or any type of move extremely difficult.  Essentially, the Cubbies are stuck with him.  So they might as well throw him into the fire and see if he can settle in as a reliable third or fourth starter.  Hey, every good team has a few innings eaters.

Mariners to hire Tim Laker as their hitting coach

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Greg Johns of MLB.com reports that the Mariners plan to hire Tim Laker as their new hitting coach. He’ll replace Edgar Martinez, who has moved into a different role with the club.

Laker has spent the past spent the past two years as the Arizona Diamondbacks assistant hitting coach. Before that he was a coach and manager in the minor league systems of the Indians and White Sox. He, of course, also spent 11 seasons in the Majors as a catcher, playing for the Indians, Expos, Devil Rays, Pirates and Orioles.