Lou Piniella expects Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano to return to the team beginning with Monday’s roadtrip after being placed on the restricted list following an in-game spat between himself and Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee on June 25.
Piniella made the announcement before Friday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals, saying he believes that a return on the road as opposed to at Wrigley will be easier for Zambrano.
“We talked about [it being easier for Zambrano to return on the road],” Piniella said Friday before the Cubs opened a series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field. "I think that [would] probably be a little easier.
“But at the same time, when he gets home, there will be a big media presence.”
Piniella also discussed Zambrano’s first outing for the Iowa Cubs, the team’s Triple-A affiliate, on Thursday.
“He threw the ball OK,” Piniella said. "The velocity is in the 91 to 92 mph range, and he competed, but he could use more work. “He hasn’t been out there in three weeks or so, that’s a long time. I think you get the rust off him first and then he can start getting ready strength-wise to pitch the way he’s capable of. Let’s not put too much into the few first appearances. It’s been a while for him.”