When Cubs' right-hander returns to Wrigley Field today, conversation between Carlos Zambrano, Lou Piniella and general manager Jim Hendry will center around protecting the $91 million pitcher from any further damage of his strained hamstring. According to my info, Zambrano has a mid-grade strain of the left hamstring. Although the pitcher will want to give it a try and maybe sit out just one start before pitching again, the team will more than likely convince Zambrano that 15-20 days on the DL will allow the leg to heal.
The more important issue is to make sure Zambrano doesn't alter his pitching delivery, which in-turn can lead to shoulder problems. Cubs fans may remember 1985 when incumbant Cy Young award winner Rick Sutcliffe tore his hamstring early that season, then returned too soon and injured his shoulder due to an altered pitching motion. Sutcliffe eventually had a few more productive years for the Cubs after that, but the big right hander was never the power pitcher he was before the injury. The Cubs will do everything they can to protect their ace from repeating that type of history.