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Zambrano moved to bullpen; LeBlanc to start Wednesday

ATLANTA -- The Marlins on Monday moved struggling starter Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen and inserted Wade LeBlanc -- the team's best pitcher this spring -- into the rotation.

How long that lasts, manager Ozzie Guillen said, depends on how both perform. But LeBlanc will start Wednesday against the Braves.

"I think we need to take a look at LeBlanc for a couple starts," Guillen said before Monday's game against the Braves. "It wasn't an easy move.

"I think Carlos -- I don't want to say deserved more than that, but the first two months of the season was outstanding. The last game was weird. This guy was dealing, a very nice game. Then from one inning to another he lost it. I want to try to give him a lot of chances [in the bullpen]. We're going to see how it works."

Zambrano started the season 4-3 with a 2.81 ERA over his first 11 starts with 56 strikeouts and 29 walks. But over his last nine starts he's been miserable, going 1-6 with a 7.62 ERA. He's walked 38 and struckout just 27 over the span.

Guillen said his plan is to use Zambrano for as many as two innings -- or as a long reliever if need be. The Marlins play a double-header Friday in Washington and while Josh Johnson will start one of those games the other starter has yet to be announced. Guillen said depending on how Zambrano is used, he could start the other game Friday. But the more likely scenario is the Marlins will call up someone from the minors -- possibly recently acquired Jacob Turner, who is scheduled to pitch for Triple A New Orleans on Thursday.

"He was disappointed. He was embarrassed," Guillen said of Zambrano went told he was going to the pen. "[He] feels bad because we brought him here and he’s not doing the way he thinks he can do it. When we make moves is not because was want to, it's because we have to. Carlos took it the right way and I expected that. We’re not going to take you out the rotation because you are pitching well. He was fine. And I told him I will give him the opportunity to pitch."

Zambrano waved off reporters while sitting on a sofa in the Marlins clubhouse.

As for LeBlanc, he's excited about getting an opportunity. The 27-year old left-hander went 2-1 with a 1.31 ERA in six Grapefruit League games (two starts) for the Marlins this spring. But he didn't make the big league roster. He's gone 1-1 with a 1.15 ERA in 11 relief appearances (15 2/3 innings) since being called up on July 1. He was 17-21 with a 4.47 ERA as a starter over four seasons in San Diego.

"As long as I'm up here helping this team do something I'm happy -- whether I'm better suited for the rotation or the bullpen it remains to be seen," LeBlanc said. "I'm aware they got Turner from Detroit and they probably want to see what he can do. So, I'm just going to go out there and try to get as many outs as I can and give this team a chance."

Comments

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Stan M

Let's start with two assumptions that we would all probably agree upon. One, the Marlins simply must make a major splash with all that money they just saved, or all of the good from last Winter's moves and the new ballpark are completely negated. Two, the team has a glaring hole at 3B with no one in the system except Bono and Coghlan to possibly fill it.

The free agent market is devoid of third basemen of any value except David Wright (love him but Mets would be mad to let him go) and 34YO Youkilis. Looking over the other 29 major league teams, the cupboard is also bare unless one wants a 30 something, overpriced veteran.

That leaves two possibilities in my opinion. The team must sweeten the JJ package to TX for Ott with salary or players. Not likely. Or, how about this idea? Trade JJ or a package including Nolasco to KC for Gordon. He is supposedly on the market for pitching, is 29 years old, and a proven ML hitter. He is currently playing LF (very well), but spent most of his career at 3B. Makes sense to me and the teams match up well.

Yelich is tearing up high A ball. Can't understand why he isn't moved to AA for rest of season.

Scouted the MLs for possible players to acquire in the off season. There is not a lot to choose from. Span on the Twins is a FA, but Bono is as good or better. K. Morales from LA Angels should be available. Had a great year then pulled a Coghlan and has been hurt for quite a while. He's under 30, has proven he can hit, is superfluous on his current team, and should fit Loria's idea of a payroll. The free agent that I would really go for is Bourn from Atlanta, if he's available. Another rabbit for our capacious ballpark and an excellent CFer. I'd also take Hunter Pence in a heartbeat. Hope we don't go after either Upton; both seem to have Hanleyitis. Ellsbury had that one great year but he is so injury prone, he'd probably step on a land mine in Disneyland.

Bob

They're lucky they have Big Z's history to blame, otherwise this would be St. Claire's fault for failing to help Zambrano keep up his earlier performance.

rbleigh

Stan,
I like the Gordon idea if his glove is above average, say 55 on the 20-80 scale @ 3B but if not his power alone doesn't seem enough to man the position. I'd liken his numbers last year as an anomaly. This FO has to be speculative on one year wonders due to the Buck signing. Has Gordon had any wrist injuries which would explain knocking one out every 80 at bats?

How do the Cardinals do it? They get David Freese and his 900 OPS (29yo) for 1/2 million while Gordon (29yo) and 800 OPS plays for 6M

And there is why the Cardinals are such a great organization.

Lucifer

Whatever Loria & Co. do will turn out bad. They have the Golden touch in reverse. Whatever they touch ,turns to shitttttt. Marlins fans should find another team to root for and spend their time and money on, as they are wasting both on the Loria owned Marlins. You'll get more satisfaction rooting against this abortion of an organization ,as they are cursed forever and will surely be losers, until Loria no longer owns this team.

laurelbowie

Stan M,
The pickings at third are so slim now that even good teams like the Yankees are talking about Chase Headley, who's OK at best.
The Pirates want Carlos Lee and he's not doing the Marlins any good, so let's give him up for Alen Hanson. Hanson's a couple of years away, but it might turn out to be the best trade the Fish have made in a while.

Sammy the Bull

Zambrano should be put out to pasture,instead of the bullpen.

Carlos Fernandez Blanco

...One " humble opinion ", : " Zambrano is weary, has as many innings pitched as most other starting pitchers, and has allowed as few home runs as Johnson. Zambrano, a scheming pitcher, needs R & R, probably some sleep.

ed

Zambrano meltdown in T minus 10 9 8 7.....

Marlin Fan

Stan , maybe sit tight for now with the trades , as you said there are not alot if quality 3b out there . .... Hey we've forgotten about Murphy lol

Marlin Fan

I would love to see the record for the worst single game , starting lineup BA . I wonder how the Marlins would have ranked last night ?

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