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Chicago Cubs Pitcher Carlos Zambrano Hit In Face By Line Drive

The Chicago Cubs veteran right hander took a line drive off the face on Friday, but appears to be okay.

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The Chicago Cubs got some surprising news on Friday night when word came out Venezuela that pitcher Carlos Zambrano was hit by a line drive during a winter league game:

Carlos_zambrano_liner_medium

Click for animation.

Zambrano received 18 stitches on his chin, but hopes to return to winter ball action within the month. After catching the liner with his chin, Big Z alertly grabbed the ball an threw to first for the out.

The Cubs pitcher finished the season on suspension from the team after he was ejected from a game against the Atlanta Braves on August 12, cleaning out his locker and reportedly telling Cubs personnel he was retiring.

The Cubs are weighing their options with Zambrano, uncertain whether to trade him -- if they can -- or try to see if he can have a comeback season and produce some value for the Cubs in 2012.

Zambrano will be owed $18M in 2012 and will be 31 in June. In 2011, Zambrano started in only 24 games, sporting a near-career-worst 4.82 ERA and 4.59 FIP.

For more updates on the MLB off-season, check out Baseball Nation or stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago for more updates on all Chicago sports.