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Zambrano To Long Relief

By Marcus Gilmer in News on May 18, 2010 8:40PM

Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano is no longer an $18 million set-up man. Instead, he's now an $18 million long reliever. The move could signal a coming return to the starting rotation for Zambrano who was moved to the bullpen about a month ago in an experiment that, to be kind about it, has seen mixed results. Since his last start on April 20 in New York, Zambrano has pitched a total of 8.2 innings in eight games, allowing 15 hits, six runs for a 6.23 ERA, and struck out seven. In only two of those eight relief appearances has Zambrano thrown less than 20 pitches. Said Piniella of the move, "We thought the outcome would be a little different. He's not comfortable in the bullpen pitching short. We're going to use him in a different role, build up some stamina, build up his arm. That's what we're going to do." As for Zambrano, at least he's expressing a team-first attitude: "The boss wants me to close games, I'll close games, if the boss wants me to be a starter again, I'll be a starter again. It's up to them, their choice."