Carlos Zambrano Close to Returning

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Carlos Zambrano struck out three and hit a single in two innings of relief work in Triple-A Iowa's 4-2, 13-inning win Saturday night over Round Rock.

Making his second appearance for the Minor League team, Zambrano followed starter Thomas Diamond and pitched the seventh and eighth innings. He threw 29 pitches, 17 for strikes. Zambrano struck out the first batter he faced, got the next to ground out, then Round Rock's Brian Esposito singled to left. The next batter grounded out to Zambrano to end the inning.

Zambrano led off the eighth inning and singled but was forced at second on a double play.

On the mound in the eighth, he struck out two, both swinging, and also got a groundout.

Zambrano has been on the restricted list since June 29 following his dugout tantrum June 25 at U.S. Cellular Field. He will make at least one more outing with Iowa, then is expected to rejoin the Cubs at the end of the week in Colorado.

"[The reports] were positive," Lou Piniella said of Zambrano's second outing. "He pitched two innings, threw strikes and had good movement on the ball. It was a positive effort."

The Cubs' Opening Day starter, Zambrano was 3-6 with a 5.66 ERA in 22 games, including a 3-5 record and 6.12 ERA in nine starts, and 0-1, 4.15 ERA in 13 relief appearances. When Zambrano does rejoin the Cubs, he will go into the bullpen. ... p;c_id=chc

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