Zambrano sidelined for season with torn tendon

NEW YORK -- New York Mets right-hander Victor Zambrano will
miss the rest of the season after tearing a tendon in his pitching
elbow, the latest in a string of injuries to the team's starting

The Mets placed Zambrano on the 60-day disabled list Sunday, and
said he could be ready to pitch by spring training. Right-hander
Jose Lima was brought up from Triple-A Norfolk to take Zambrano's
roster spot and started Sunday against Atlanta.
Zambrano left Saturday's 6-5 win over the Braves after facing
just four batters, and striking out three. In the second inning,
manager Willie Randolph and trainer Ray Ramirez visited Zambrano on
the mound to make sure he was feeling OK. Zambrano stayed in the
game and, two pitches later, struck out Andruw Jones. He then
bounded off the mound, down the dugout steps and into the
"When I threw my last pitch, I knew it was over," Zambrano
An MRI exam taken after the game revealed the tear. Zambrano,
who came to New York in a trade that sent top Mets prospect Scott
Kazmir to Tampa Bay in July 2004, said he has been pitching with discomfort for
some time but felt he could fight through the soreness. He hadn't
said anything to the team's training staff about the elbow.
"I'm not a doctor," Randolph said, "but I'm sure if we had
known we could have taken some preventative measures."
Randolph added that many players play through pain, and he
attributed Zambrano's determination to keep pitching to the
right-hander's competitiveness.
Zambrano, 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in five starts this season, has
had a hard time winning over Mets fans, many of whom believe New
York gave up too much in the deal with Tampa Bay. He missed the
final six weeks of the 2004 season with elbow and ankle problems.
"It's very hard for me to not show what I can do," he said of
pitching with the pain in his elbow.
The Mets already have pitchers Brian Bannister and John Maine on
the disabled list.
Both Randolph and general manager Omar Minaya mentioned
right-hander Jeremi Gonzalez, currently in Triple-A with Norfolk,
as a possibility to be brought up to the Mets. New York could also
move left-hander Darren Oliver, who gave up two runs in four
innings in relief of Zambrano Saturday, from the bullpen to the
starting rotation.
"We built a team with numbers in certain areas," Minaya said.
Right-hander Aaron Heilman is not an option to start, since both
Randolph and Minaya are happy with the performance of the bullpen
and want to keep it intact.