Iowa Cubs manager Ryne Sandberg said pitcher Carlos Zambrano showed up for his stint with the Triple-A club a day early and appears ready to "get to work."
Zambrano has been on the restricted list since June 29 following a three-game suspension for an emotional outburst aimed at teammates in the dugout of a June 25 game against the Chicago White Sox.
"He showed up at the ballpark [Tuesday], a day early," Sandberg said Wednesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "He was excited to be around. I had some words with him. I talked to him about being part of the team. We have a good thing going on here. We're in first place by a game and a half, we swept a doubleheader [Tuesday].
"I wanted him to feel part of the team, but also let him know he could have a big impact on the young players here, showing how a major leaguer should go about his business and he was joining something good. He seemed to act like he was all on board and ready to get started and get to work and hopefully have a short stint here in the minors and get him back to the major-league level. [I] had good a conversation with him to get things started, and he'll start pitching [Thursday]."
The plan for Zambrano is for him to pitch out of the bullpen for Iowa until he joins the big league team in Denver the weekend of July 30.
Zambrano pitched one inning and surrendered one hit on Monday in his only outing for the Cubs' Mesa, Ariz., rookie league team.
In addition to his suspension and time on the restricted list, Zambrano is believed to have undergone anger management therapy with doctors picked by Major League Baseball and Zambrano's agent.
Zambrano is 3-6 with a 5.66 ERA this season.