Carlos Zambrano is blowing through the Phillies’ farm system, but he’s not headed for the big leagues just yet. After successful starts for both Clearwater and Reading, Zambrano is set to move up to Triple-A affiliate Lehigh Valley this week – one step away from returning to the show.
Zambrano made two starts with the Threshers, and pitched again for the Fightin Phils on Saturday. The 32-year-old right-hander is now 2-0 with a 0.55 ERA in the minors this year, and believes he is ready to help the big club. He’ll have to prove himself at least one more time with the IronPigs on Thursday first.
That the Phillies are continuing to bring Zambrano along slowly is something of a surprise given the presence of the two rookie pitchers in the current rotation. Since a solid first couple of months, Pettibone has been less effective in two of his last three starts, surrendering four runs or more over fewer than six innings of work in each. The organization doesn’t seem to be very high on Tyler Cloyd, either – although he’s given the club four quality starts out of five outings this year.
With John Lannan also due back soon, it might be only a matter of time before both are heading back down to the minors. Of course, that could still be contingent on whether Zambrano continues to look strong.