Piniella moving Zambrano to bullpen

Carlos Zambrano said Lou Piniella told him his move to the bullpen is temporary, but Piniella said it may not be temporary. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Cubs confirmed reports that manager Lou Piniella is moving struggling starter Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen, in a move that may not be temporary.

"I told him we really needed him in the bullpen," Piniella told reporters in New York before facing the Mets, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "We felt he could do a really nice job for us there.

"He said he would do what's best for the team. I'm very appreciative. We've talked about maturing. This proves it to me."

Zambrano is 1-2 with a 7.45 ERA in four starts, and the move makes room for Ted Lilly, who is returning to the Cubs' starting rotation on Saturday in Milwaukee after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery.

"[Piniella] told me that probably [assistant general manager] Randy [Bush] or [GM] Jim Hendry was looking for an eighth-inning guy," Zambrano told the Tribune. "And when they find a guy and trade [for a] guy and get that guy here, I will be back to the rotation.

"Right now they need somebody to step up in the eighth inning. I don't like to be a reliever. I don't want to be a reliever, but this team needs somebody to step up and help the bullpen."

The Cubs scouted free-agent pitcher Braden Looper on Monday, a source told ESPNChicago.com.

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