Somebody's Gonna Get Squeezed

Cubs manager Lou Piniella is going to have some interesting juggling to do with his starting rotation, and a deserving pitcher is going to be the odd-man out.

Right-hander Carlos Zambrano is due to rejoin the rotation, either at the end of the upcoming homestand or on the next road trip.

The problem is that none of the five pitchers in the rotation now has done a poor job. Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly, Randy Wells, Carlos Silva and Tom Gorzelanny have done their part while Zambrano is in the bullpen, but one will have to go to the bullpen when Zambrano comes back.

One thing the Cubs won't do is go to a six-man rotation. They feel that will throw everybody off their routines.

It would appear Gorzelanny would be the pitcher who loses his spot, but the Cubs already have three left-handers in their bullpen. Much of the timing will depend on how long it takes Zambrano to get "stretched out" to start again.

CUBS 5, RANGERS 4: Silva improved to 6-0 by lasting 5 1/3 innings on a hot day in Arlington. Alfonso Soriano sparked a four-run first inning with a two-run homer, and the Cubs got good bullpen work from right-hander Bob Howry, lefty Sean Marshall and righty Carlos Marmol, who earned his ninth save.


--Zambrano will throw a simulated game during Monday's off-day as he prepares to rejoin the starting rotation. Zambrano began a short-lived stint as a setup man on April 24 but has been uncomfortable in that role and Piniella promised him another shot to start.

--Aramis Ramirez is dealing with pain between his left thumb and index finger. His batting average entering Sunday was .160, and he had struck out 40 times in 156 at-bats. He struck out kist 43 times in 306 ABs last year. He did not play Sunday. He was the DH Saturday, when he struck out four times in five at-bats.

--Dempster will start Tuesday's series opener against the Dodgers in Chicago. The Cubs are giving extra time to Gorzelanny, who was struck by a batted ball on his left index finger last Wednesday in Philadelphia. The Cubs will evaluate Gorzelanny early this week and fill in the rotation from there.

--Starlin Castro has reached base via hit, walk or error in all 16 games he has played, hitting safely in 14 of those games, including Sunday. He used his speed to beat out a bunt hit Sunday.

--Silva became the 11th Cubs pitcher to begin a season 6-0. The last Cubs starter to do it was Ken Holtzman in 1967. Silva came out after 5 1/3 innings on a hot day at Rangers ballpark.

"I was really hot, really tired," Silva said. "Plus, the bullpen has been unbelievable."

--Soriano hit his ninth homer of the year in the first inning. It was the 299th homer of his career. He's batting .326 after going 6-for-16 with two homers on the road trip, during which the Cubs were 3-2 in Philadelphia and Texas. Soriano says he feels comfortable being reunited with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo. The two worked together in Texas.

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