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Rough rehab start, but Zambrano slated to go Friday at San Diego
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 5/18/2009 12:11 AM

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Carlos Zambrano got his work in Sunday, and even if the numbers weren't great, the Cubs had to consider it mission accomplished.

Zambrano tossed 3 2/3 innings for Class A Daytona against Dunedin in a rehab start, giving up 5 hits and 4 runs, walking three and striking out one. Zambrano threw 67 pitches, 42 for strikes.

It was Zambrano's first game action since May 3, when he strained his left hamstring and had to go on the disabled list the next day. The plan is for him to rejoin the team Tuesday in St. Louis and pitch Friday's series opener at San Diego.

He told the media in Florida he had no problems.

"I talked about it to Larry (pitching coach Rothschild) a little bit," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella. "Look, we have to talk to him to see how it felt, that's the important thing. Those kids over in Dunedin did some hitting."

Nothing changes: Even though closer Kevin Gregg gave up 4 runs on 4 hits while blowing a 4-0 lead Saturday, Lou Piniella is not going to mess with the back end of his bullpen. That means Carlos Marmol remains the setup man and Gregg stays the closer.

"We're not going to go into that," Piniella said. "We've got our plan set. Barring an injury, we're going to stay the way we are. We talked a week or 10 days ago about really concentrating on putting a good bullpen together, and we're starting to do just that."

Still slumping: Third baseman Mike Fontenot went 0-for-3 with a walk. He's 0-for-16 over his last five games, and his average fell to .204. Lou Piniella had no plans to talk with Fontenot, at least not yet.

"Sometimes it's better to wait until after a day off," Piniella said. "It's a bigger adjustment for people than what you think it is, especially at the big-league level. Sometimes, you start thinking a little too much. Most of the time, it's the wrong thing to do."

Fontenot has done most of the filling in at third base for the injured Aramis Ramirez.

This and that: Alfonso Soriano has hit safely in seven of his last eight home games, going 12-for-36. He has a team-leading .303 batting average at Wrigley. ... Derrek Lee fell a triple shy of the cycle, with 2 singles, a double and a homer. It was his first 4-hit game since Sept. 4, 2008. ... The 4 runs Rich Harden gave up in the fourth inning were the most he had allowed in one inning since he gave up 5 for Oakland against the Angels on Aug. 9, 2005.