Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano was lifted from his Thursday afternoon start against the Giants due to soreness in his lower back and now word comes from MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat that he had to be taken to a local hospital to undergo an MRI.
The Cubs are optimistic that Big Z won’t need to miss any time and the 30-year-old told reporters after the hospital visit that he’s pitched through similar back problems in the past, but there’s no way of knowing Zambrano’s exact status until the MRI results are reviewed by team physicians on Friday morning.
Zambrano, 30, has an unremarkable 4.34 ERA and 1.37 WHIP through 18 starts this season, with 75 strikeouts and 42 walks in 112 innings. But, as best we know, he hasn’t gone on any dugout tirades or destroyed any Gatorade-dispensing machines at Wrigley Field.
Free agent outfielder Peter Bourjos is heading back to the Angels on a minor league deal, per a report from Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors. The agreement includes an invitation to spring training, but has not yet been officially confirmed by the team.
Bourjos, 31, played out a one-year gig with the Braves in 2018 and slashed .205/.239/.364 with four extra-base hits and a .603 OPS through a career-low 47 plate appearances. He showed more promise during a short-lived stint with the Giants’ Triple-A squad in the second half of the season, but elected free agency in early November and had yet to catch on with another major league club. His deal with the Angels represents a homecoming of sorts, as he played some of the best years of his career in Anaheim from 2010 to 2013 before getting traded to the Cardinals in a multiplayer swap for David Freese and Fernando Salas in 2014.
The veteran outfielder is long past his prime, but could still bring some value to the team as outfield depth behind Justin Upton, Mike Trout, and Kole Calhoun. Per Adams, he’s expected to compete for a spot as the Angels’ fourth outfielder, though he also has limited experience at DH as well.