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Who's out of rotation when Big Z returns?

Who's out of rotation when Big Z returns?

CHICAGO -- OK, if Carlos Zambrano is going back into the Cubs' rotation, who's out?

Chicago switched Zambrano from a starter to a reliever when Ted Lilly returned from the disabled list and because it needed some experience in the bullpen. But Zambrano will be back in the rotation as soon as he builds up arm strength. The Cubs aren't going with a six-man rotation.

"We'll look at that situation, and we'll make a determination," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "Let's hope it's a real, real tough choice. Let's concentrate on winning more ballgames and getting Zambrano ready for the rotation."

Not many teams can say they have too many starting pitchers.

"We talked about it in the spring, that we did have some depth in the rotation," Piniella said. "[Sean] Marshall was competing for a spot in the rotation in the spring, and he made the move to the bullpen and it's worked out quite well. He's flourished there."

When the Cubs' brass decided to move Zambrano to the bullpen, it thought his velocity would pick up. It didn't.

"The reason we put Carlos in the bullpen was because we talked about it as a staff, and we felt that with his experience and his intimidation factor that he would be best suited out of the rotation to do that," Piniella said.

Ryan Dempster was considered, because he was the Cubs' closer in 2007, which was Piniella's first year in Chicago.

"We signed him to start and he's done a nice job starting so we don't want to disturb that situation," Piniella said.

The Cubs also considered Randy Wells to make the switch, but decided not to interrupt his routine.

"Wells is doing a real nice job out of the rotation," Piniella said. "We're going to go with what we have and the way we're situated and go from there."

If it's not Dempster or Wells who switch to the bullpen, it could be Carlos Silva or Tom Gorzelanny. Neither Piniella nor general manager Jim Hendry wouldn't say. The focus now is getting Zambrano back into shape to start.

"He'll be a starter again, and we're optimistic that he'll still be an effective one," Hendry said. "Hopefully, he can find some of the magic that made him a high-end guy."

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