PITTSBURGH – Carlos Zambrano, the three-time All-Star right-hander who’s made seven starts for various Phillies minor-league affiliates in recent weeks, is out for at least a month after an MRI showed a Grade I lat strain in his right shoulder, a Phillies spokesman said Tuesday evening during the Phillies-Pirates game at PNC Park.
Zambrano, who has won 132 major-league games, left his start Saturday for Lehigh Valley in Allentown after just two innings and was placed on the minor-league disabled list.
The team spokesman said an MRI showed no structural damage in Zambrano’s shoulder and said the injury was a result of “normal wear and tear.”
Zambrano has an option that would have allowed him to opt out of his minor-league contract and become a free agent this past Monday if the Phillies didn’t promote him to the majors, but facing at least four weeks of inactivity, he obviously won’t do that, since no other team is going to sign him while he’s not healthy.
Zambrano, 32, was 1-0 with a 3.32 ERA in four starts at Lehigh Valley. Overall, he was 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA in seven starts at Single A Clearwater, Double A Reading and Lehigh Valley.
In 12 major-league seasons, Zambrano is 132-91 with a 3.66 ERA. He won a career-best 18 games for the Cubs in 2007 and twice finished in the top five in Cy Young Award voting. Last year, he went 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA for the Marlins.
The Phillies didn’t appear to be in a hurry to promote Zambrano even when he was healthy.
He had struggled with his command and velocity during his stint in Allentown, walking 10 and hitting one and allowing 19 hits in 19 innings.
Zambrano ranks seventh in baseball history among pitchers with 24 career home runs, the most of any player in the last 40 years.