Bullpen Relief

By Patrick Erickson

Now entering in the 8th inning: Carlos Zambrano?

Get used to it Cubs fans, at least for now. In a move that may become more permanent, Big Z was sent to the Cubs bullpen.

In an effort to relieve a bullpen that has, to say the least, been putrid, the ace of the staff has been thrust into the set-up role instead.

With the exception of closer Carlos Marmol and sometimes Sean Marshall, the Cubs bullpen has struggled while carrying three rookies out of spring training.

It is a move that could be unprecedented, especially in the modern game. Lou Pinella is taking a huge risk, one that might be assisted by the imminent return from injury of Ted Lilly.

So far there are no complaints from Zambrano, but only time will tell. He has had his share of emotional moments and if he struggles out of the pen or becomes dissatisfied it could be a bigger problem.

The Chicago Tribune reported that this move could be long-term. At the least it is to show management the pressing need for relief help. At the longest it could be a permanent move for the season.

Stay tuned. It could become wild Cubs fans.

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