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Carlos Zambrano Strong in Rehabilitation Start at Peoria

David WyattAnalyst IAugust 21, 2009

CHICAGO - JULY 03:  Carlos Zambrano  #38 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers during their MLB game on July 3, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Carlos Zambrano was in town, and it was no secret.

The atmosphere around Peoria was electricthe ace was in town and he was ready to face some Single A hitters. All seating areas were booked, and only standing room was available as Zambrano took the mound to face the Clinton LumberKings, a Class A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.

Zambrano wasted no time showing that he was ready to re-join the Cubs in their quest for a postseason place. A 1-2-3 first inning showed that he was not taking this rehabilitation assignment lightly.

Zambrano was breezing until the third inning, where Clinton managed to string a couple of hits together. With runners on second and third and only one away, Zambrano turned a ball into the dirt and raced to retrieve the ball to make sure the runner stayed on third base.

He proceeded to strike out the remaining two Clinton hitters to get out of the inning and maintain the 0-0 scoreline going into the bottom of the third.

Zambrano showed no signs of injury, as he got off the mound early in the game to cover first base after first baseman Ridling and second baseman Flaherty chased the same ball. He showed excellent quickness to get over and record the out.

He quickly moved through the fourth inning, throwing strikes and getting the LumberKings out in order on fly balls, with one going to each Peoria fielder.

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The fifth inning started with a groundout to shortstop DJ LaMahieu, as the 2009 second-round pick of the Cubs ranged to his left behind second base and sent a strong throw over to first to get the first out of the inning. The second out quickly followed, with a ground out to third baseman Mathias.

But Zambrano was unable to get the third out, as Carrol sent the seventh pitch of the at-bat into right field for a single

Zambrano, who was on a 70 to 75 pitch count, threw his 72nd pitch upstairs, and Carrol stole second to get into scoring position. A wild pitch by Zambrano then moved the runner over to third base.

However, like every star on the stage, he finished with a strikeout to end the fifth, pointed to the sky in usual fashion, and returned to the dugout with 76 pitches thrown and five innings in the book. The game was tied 0-0.

Zambrano looked good, as he threw strikes and he got through five innings without any problems.

5 IP, 76 pitches thrown, 54 for strikes, 4 hits, 3 singles and a double, no walks and 5 K's

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