The "Big Z" Carlos Zambrano, walked off the mound of his last start for Triple-A Lehigh Valley and into the clubhouse where he was treated for a sore right shoulder. A subsequent MRI revealed a Grade 1 lat strain, but no structural damage and the Philadephia Phillies have announced he will be shutdown for a minimum of 4-6 weeks.
The combustible Dominican, has had quite the journey in 2013 in an attempt to resurrect his once promising career. After a lackluster stint in Miami last season, Zambrano found himself without a suitor during the offseason and appeared ticketed for the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League. Mere days after agreeing to terms with the Ducks, Zambrano turned his back on non-affiliated baseball and signed a minor league contract with the Phillies.
During his minor league odyssey within the Philadelphia organization, Zambrano worked diligently to rebuild his arm strength after last appearing in the World Baseball Classic in March. Despite posting a 2.03 ERA in 7 minor league starts, Zambrano's lack of fastball velocity has raised concern after topping out at 87 mph as did a lack of command. Furthermore, his once explosive slider was reported to flatten out dramatically in the later stages of his starts.
Before sustaining his shoulder injury, Zambrano was safely considered to be a long shot to make an impact in Philadelphia this season. With his career in jeopardy and his future in doubt, the tragic career of the burly right-hander is now at a crossroads.
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