Carlos Zambrano, who last week insisted he was ready to join the Phillies’ rotation, tossed six shutout innings yesterday at Single-A.
That gives Zambrano a total of 10.1 scoreless innings in two starts for Clearwater, although his 5/4 K/BB ratio isn’t impressive. He’s induced a ton of ground balls, hasn’t given up a homer, and opponents are hitting just .184.
Zambrano can opt out of his minor-league contract on July 1 if he hasn’t been added to the Phillies’ roster by then, but indicated to Adam Berry of MLB.com that he’s willing to show a little more patience:
I’m going to Double-A or Triple-A. And after that, I think I will be ready and I will wait for the call. … Whatever they want me to do–one more outing, whatever. I’m ready to pitch in the big leagues.
Berry reports that Zambrano was working at 90 miles per hour with his sinker and he threw 78 pitches overall, but it’s hard to blame the Phillies for not fully buying into Zambrano immediately based on two Single-A starts given how poorly he’s pitched for the past two seasons.
Fox Sports Detroit has named Matt Shepard their new full-time play-by-play guy for Tigers games. Shepard will work with analysts Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson, who will split time.
This is the move in response to former longtime announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen getting suspended and later fired following an in-booth altercation in Chicago last September. The two of them, who weren’t exactly friends, reportedly fought over a chair, with conflicting reports of how serious the fight was. An anonymous witness said Allen put Impemba in a choke hold. Allen recently gave an interview in which he denied that and said it was only some pushing and shoving. Either way, it ended their 16-year team-up for Tigers games.
Shepard has worked for Fox Sports Detroit for nearly 20 years, doing fill-in play-by-play for the Tigers — he replaced Impemba for the last few weeks of last season — and for Detroit Pistons games. Gibson has been a part time analyst for the network for the past couple of seasons, splitting time with Allen. Morris has done Tigers, Blue Jays and Twins games over the years, sometimes even splitting time between the Twins and Tigers, which is rather unusual.
Shepard is pretty good at his job. While Tigers fans liked and were familiar with Impemba, there won’t be a falloff in quality. Gibson makes some good analytical points and has a surprisingly sharp and biting sense of humor about him, but his gruff and monotone delivery is not everyone’s cup of tea. You get used to it. Morris is not my cup of tea — he tends to do a lot of the “back in my day” stuff former players often do — but I’m pretty sure he could recite the dictionary on TV in Detroit and a lot of Tigers fans would tune in. Such is life.