PHOENIX – A media report that said the Phillies had signed veteran pitcher Carlos Zambrano was called “ridiculously premature” by general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. on Saturday night.
Amaro said the Phillies would take a look at Zambrano, who recently signed with the independent Long Island Ducks. Amaro said the Phils would consider signing Zambrano if he looked good, but as of now, the GM said, the Phils hadn’t even scouted the pitcher.
With Roy Halladay down for at least three months and John Lannan on the disabled list for several more weeks, the Phils are combing professional baseball for pitching depth. Zambrano, who turns 34 on June 1, is a former all-star and mainstay in the Chicago Cubs’ rotation. His career has been marred by discipline problems and his performance the last two seasons has been poor – 16-17 with a 4.66 ERA in 59 games for the Cubs and Marlins.
The report Amaro referred to was generated out of Venezuela, Zambrano’s home country.
The Phillies are currently without a fifth starter. Tyler Cloyd filled that spot well on Friday night – he pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed just two runs in a 3-2 loss to Arizona – and was sent back to Triple A. Because of off days in the schedule, the Phillies don’t need a fifth starter until May 21. They’ve added an eighth reliever, Justin De Fratus, for the time being.
“We’ve got to improve the middle of our bullpen,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “Hopefully he can help.”
The Phillies’ rotation the next few days will go like this:
Sunday vs. Arizona – RH Kyle Kendrick vs. RH Brandon McCarthy
Monday – off
Tuesday night vs. Cleveland – RH Jonathan Pettibone vs. LH Scott Kazmi
Wednesday afternoon vs. Cleveland – LH Cole Hamels vs. RH Cory Kluber