Carlos Zambrano says he's ready. Are the Phillies ready for him?
Zambrano, whom the Phillies signed to a minor-league deal on May 15, threw 81 pitches over 4 1/3 innings on Tuesday night in his first game action, a Single A start in Clearwater.
And that's apparently all he needed to get comfortable. Zambrano told the Philadelphia Daily News after the game: "I'm ready."
"They are in control," Zambrano said, referring to the Phillies and any potential timetable for a major-league return. "My agent has been in touch with Mr. Ruben [Amaro] and we'll see what happens. I'm ready. I'm ready to help this team.''
Zambrano, 31, spent 11 seasons with the Chicago Cubs before a messy divorce at the end of the 2011 season, one in line with his history of emotional outbursts.
He landed with the Marlins last year, making 35 appearances (20 starts) and finishing with a 4.49 ERA and a 1.496 WHIP. He did not have a job for the 2013 season until the Phillies took a chance on him when they found themselves in need of starting pitching depth, following injuries to Roy Halladay and John Lannan.
Zambrano has not recorded a sub-4.00 ERA since the 2010 season, his second-to-last in Chicago.
He acknowledged that the Phillies will likely want him to make at least one more rehab start and throw 100 pitches in an outing. So far, he's saying all the right things, telling the Daily News: "I was at my house doing nothing and now I have a job with one of the best teams in baseball, a team with good fans, a team that is competing every year. I like that. I like the chemistry. I like the system. I thank God that I'm here."