Zambrano Returns from DL
Carlos Zambrano (AP PHOTO/LENNY IGNELZI)
Carlos Zambrano (AP PHOTO/LENNY IGNELZI)

Posted May 23, 2009


The Cubs got ace pitcher Carlos Zambrano back for Friday night's game at San Diego, but not quite in the way they had hoped.

The corresponding move was not to send a player to the minor leagues, but to put righty Rich Harden on the 15-day disabled list with what the Cubs term a mid-back strain.

Harden apparently felt a "twinge" in his most recent start, May 17 against the Astros, and then again during his side session in St. Louis.

The 27-year-old Harden has had a history of shoulder problems but he has maintained the shoulder has felt the best it has in several years. He is 4-2 with a 4.74 ERA.

Zambrano had been on the DL since May 4 with a strained left hamstring. The Harden move is retroactive to May 18.

PADRES 4, CUBS 0: Zambrano lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up three runs and throwing 97 pitches. The Cubs' offense, which scored a grand total of two runs in three games at St. Louis, could get nothing going against RHP Jake Peavy and the San Diego bullpen. The Cubs struck out 16 times and stranded 13 runners.

NEWS, NOTES

--Zambrano on Friday was seeking to become the fourth pitcher in the last 50 years to reach 100 victories with the Cubs, joining Fergie Jenkins, Rick Reuschel and Greg Maddux. Zambrano ran his pitch count up early, throwing 31 pitches in the first inning.

--RHP Randy Wells will start Saturday at San Diego in place of Harden, who was placed on the DL with a strained back muscle. Wells, who was called up from Class AAA Iowa earlier this month, is 0-0 with an 0.00 ERA. He has not allowed a run in 11 innings pitched.

--Micah Hoffpauir played right field in place of the slumping Milton Bradley but struck out four times. Manager Lou Piniella has said he wants to get Hoffpauir more playing time. That playing time could come at the expense of 1B Derrek Lee if Lee's production numbers don't improve soon.

--RHP David Patton, whom the Cubs chose in the Rule 5 draft, has not pitched since May 9, and the team may be close to cutting bait with Patton. The Cubs are carrying 12 pitchers, including Patton, but they're using 11 without benefit of the extra position player on the roster. They may have to end up offering Patton back to the Colorado Rockies, his original organization.

--Struggling IF Mike Fontenot did not start as his average had fallen to .195 entering the game. Fontenot grounded out as a pinch-hitter. Also not starting was C Geovany Soto, who has a .206 batting average and an anemic .275 slugging percentage.

ON THE FARM ...

IOWA 3, FRESNO 2 (CLASS AAA)

At Des Moines, the Cubs (22-18) out-hit the Grizzlies, 9-4, in the victory Friday. LF Jason Dubois (2-for-4, RBI) paced the offense with two doubles to extend his hit streak to five straight games. Iowa used five pitchers with RHP Kevin Hart making his first start of the season and tossing four innings. He allowed one run and one hit to go with three strikeouts. Hart (2-for-2) also helped his cause at the plate with two hits, including a double. RHP Vince Perkins (3-0) got the win in relief, allowing one run in two innings. RHP Justin Berg made his first appearance since coming off the disabled list and tossed one scoreless inning, and RHPs Jeff Stevens and Blake Parker also added a scoreless inning of relief.

BIRMINGHAM 3, TENNESSEE 2 – GAME 1 (CLASS AA)

At Sevierville, RHP Hung-Wen Chen tossed six scoreless innings, allowing four hits in a no-decision Friday. He struck out three batters and walked one. RHP Brian Schlitter suffered the blown save in relief and RHP Alex Maestri (1-1) suffered his first loss. C Welington Castillo (1-for-3) hit his third home run.

BIRMINGHAM 6, TENNESSEE 1 – GAME 2

The Smokies (18-21) were out-hit, 12-7, en route to the loss. LF Ty Wright and C Steve Clevenger (each 2-for-3) paced the offense with Clevenger hitting his third double. 2B Darwin Barney (1-for-3) singled to extend his consecutive on-base streak to 14 games. RHP Jesse Estrada (0-1), making his first Double-A appearance after being sent down from Iowa, started and suffered the loss. He allowed four runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

WEST MICHIGAN 14, PEORIA 4 (CLASS A)

At Peoria, the Chiefs (22-18) were out-hit, 18-5, in the loss Friday. 3B Josh Vitters (1-for-4) hit his ninth home run and sixth in the past week. CF Kyler Burke (1-for-4) clubbed his fourth home run. RHP Alberto Cabrera (3-2) started and suffered the loss, allowing five runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Daytona’s (Class High-A) scheduled game versus Lakeland was postponed due to rain.

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