The Peoria Chiefs in conjunction with the Chicago Cubs have announced that barring any medical setbacks, Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano will start for the Chiefs at O'Brien Field on Friday, July 8 against the Beloit Snappers at 6:30 p.m. Zambrano has been on the disabled list since July 1 after being removed in the second inning against the San Francisco Giants the day before with a back injury.
Zambrano is expected to start for the Chiefs though a pitch count was not given, and the game will be followed by a Spectacular Fireworks Show. Tickets are available immediately at www.peoriachiefs.com or by calling 1-866-MYTICKET. The O'Brien Field Box Office will open at 10:00 a.m. on Friday for those wishing to purchase tickets in person. Due to the Major League rehab, the Never-A-Wasted ticket policy is suspended for Friday's game.
This season Zambrano is 6-4 with a 4.34 ERA in 18 starts for the Cubs. He has struck out 75 and walked 42 in 112 innings while holding opponents to a .263 batting average. In six June starts he was 1-2 with a 4.58 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings. Zambrano won his first two decisions this season and was 4-1 after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 4. Zambrano is batting .313 this season with one homer, two doubles and four RBI. For his career he has hit more homers than any other Cubs pitcher in history with 22 and is a three-time National League Silver Slugger Award Winner.
Zambrano rehabbed for the Chiefs on August 20, 2009 as the Chiefs beat Clinton 3-0. The righty shutout the LumberKings over five innings with five strikeouts while allowing four hits. He rehabbed last season once with the Mesa Cubs and once with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs going 0-0 in four relief outings with three runs and six hits allowed over five innings of work. Prior to pitching for the Chiefs in 2009, he rehabbed at Class A Advanced Daytona in the Florida State League on May 17 allowing four runs on five hits over 3 2/3 innings of work. He walked three and struck out one while suffering the loss against Toronto-affiliated Dunedin. Zambrano also pitched in Peoria as a Minor Leaguer, taking a no-decision with the Lansing Lugnuts against the Chiefs on April 17, 1999 in game two of a double header at Pete Vonachen Stadium. In that outing he allowed two runs on seven hits while striking out four over 4 1/3 innings. He beat the Chiefs on July 15, 1999 in Lansing after allowing just two runs on five hits over six innings with five strikeouts.
The 30-year-old right hander originally signed with the Cubs out of Venezuela on July 12, 1997 and made his pro debut in the Arizona League with Mesa in 1998. After going 0-1 he was assigned to the Lansing Lugnuts in the Midwest League in 1999 and went 13-7 with a 4.17 ERA in 24 starts as an 18-year-old. He jumped to Double-A West Tenn in 2000 going 3-1 in nine starts before a mid-season promotion to Triple-A Iowa. After 34 bullpen outings and six saves in 2000 with Iowa, Zambrano went 10-5 in Des Moines as a starter in 2001. He made his MLB debut with the Cubs in 2001 and was 1-2 with a 15.26 ERA in six games and one start. He went 4-8 with the Cubs in 2002 and broke out with a 13-11 season as the Cubs won the NL Central in 2003 and advanced to the NLCS. Over the next three seasons, Zambrano went 46-21 in 97 starts and posted a career-best 2.75 ERA in 2004 while striking out a career-high 210 in 2006. He led the Cubs to a NL Central title in 2007 with a career-high 18 wins and a 3.95 ERA in 34 starts.
Zambrano's 2008 season was limited to 30 starts due to injuries but he still posted a 14-6 mark with a 3.91 ERA and 130 strikeouts. He also wrote his name in the record books with the first ever neutral-site no-hitter when he accomplished the feat against the Houston Astros at Milwaukee's Miller Park on September 14. In 2009 Zambrano was 9-7 with a 3.77 ERA in 28 games while spending time on the disabled list in both May and August. Last season Zambrano was 11-6 with a 3.33 ERA in 36 games and 20 starts. He struck out 117 batters in 129 2/3 innings while bouncing back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen. Zambrano has started five playoff games for the Cubs going 0-1 in 2003, 0-0 in 2007 and 0-1 in 2008. He was also 1-0 in two games for his native Venezuela in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.
Zambrano won his 100th career game on June 5, 2009 at Cincinnati. When he next takes the mound for the Cubs he will do so with a career mark of 122-78 and a 3.55 ERA in 313 games and 276 starts. He has nine career complete games, four shutouts and 1516 strikeouts in 1793 innings of work. The 1516 strikeouts are second in Cubs history behind Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins who struck out 2038 as a Cub. A three-time NL All-Star, Zambrano led the NL in wins and walks in 2006 while finishing second in wins and starts in 2007. He has won at least 13 games in six straight seasons from 2003-2008. The 2011 season marked the first time since 2004 that Zambrano was not the Cubs' Opening Day starter.
Tickets are still available for the general public immediately by calling 1-866-MYTICKET, online at www.peoriachiefs.com or at the O'Brien Field Box Office. The Box Office is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Due to the Major League rehab, the Never-A-Wasted ticket policy is suspended for Tuesday night. Friday is also 70s night with a post-game Fireworks show presented by American Furniture, Electronics and Appliances. There is also a post-game Pitch In for Charity presented by Humana to benefit the Peoria Chiefs Booster Club.
Zambrano is the second Cubs rehab of the 2011 season following Randy Wells who started against Quad Cities on May 17. The Chiefs had three rehabs last year in Ted Lilly, Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Silva. In addition to the three from last season, the rehab list since the affiliation change in 2005 includes: Nomar Garciaparra, Kerry Wood (2005, 2006 & 2007), Mark Prior, Reed Johnson, Angel Guzman, Juan Mateo, Wade Miller, Scott Williamson, Henry Blanco, Scott Eyre and Jon Lieber.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.