Hard to dislike the move because there is little risk. The 31-year-old Zambrano will report to extended spring training later in the week.
The Phils needed starting pitching depth with Roy Halladay and John Lannan on the DL. Charlie Manuel said Tuesday that Lannan being ready by the end of May would be "a stretch." He said the Phillies would likely need a fifth starter at least 2 or 3 more times.
Zambrano walked 75 batters in 132.1 innings last season, and he hasn't thrown strikes often enough to be effective since 2010. That year he had a 3.31 ERA in 20 starts and 16 relief appearances.
But if Big Z can work his way up to the majors ... why not? Yeah, he's crazy and can be a distraction, but he's been humbled enough by this process -- having to wait until mid-May to sign even a minor-league deal -- to burn any more bridges, you'd think.
He can hit, too. Zambrano has a .238 career batting average and 24 homers. That's 11 more than Jamey Carroll, 10 more than Elvis Andrus, seven more than Juan Pierre and 24 more than Ben Revere.
John Mayberry is back in the eight-hole for today’s 1:05 p.m. series finale with the Indians. Ben Revere is on the bench again. It makes sense to give Mayberry the opportunity at the bottom of the order, because previous Phillies eighth batters haven't been producing much at all. Entering last night's game, they had a .238 on-base percentage with two outs in an inning, meaning they were failing to turn the lineup over 76 percent of the time. Far too many innings a pitcher has led off. Mayberry went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI.
The best sign out of Tuesday's game was Domonic Brown's continued offensive progression. He homered off a lefty for the third time this season. Brown is hitting .314 with a .600 slugging percentage off southpaws in 2013.
Cole Hamels (1-5,
4.18) opposes Indians right-hander Corey Kluber (2-2, 5.64). Kluber is a
6-foot-4 fastball-cutter guy with a .311 opponents’ batting average. In
two starts in May he’s allowed 11 runs and 22 baserunners in 10 1/3
innings. He's a tall right-hander with a 92 mph fastball. Nothing
Maybe the Phillies can actually score for Hamels today. He has a 2.41 ERA and .186 opponents' batting average over his last six starts, but the Phillies have scored four runs in his 41 innings and gone 1-5.
1) Jimmy Rollins, SS
2) Chase Utley, 2B
3) Michael Young, 3B
4) Ryan Howard, 1B
5) Delmon Young, RF
6) Domonic Brown, LF (.300 BA, 4 HR, 8 RBI in May)
7) Carlos Ruiz, C
8) John Mayberry, CF
9) Cole Hamels, P
And for the Indians
1) Drew Stubbs, CF
2) Jason Kipnis, 2B
3) Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
4) Nick Swisher, RF
5) Mark Reynolds, 1B (0 for 3 with RISP, 7 LOB on Tuesday)
6) Carlos Santana, C
7) Ryan Raburn, LF
8) Mike Aviles, 3B
9) Corey Kluber, P