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Zambrano plays down struggles

PORT ST. LUCIE — Carlos Zambrano wasn't concerned with the results of his first start for the Marlins.

The righty struck out four but gave up three runs and walked three in 11/3 innings of Miami's 5-4 win over the Mets on Thursday.

"Just an outing to build the arm," said Zambrano, who was acquired from the Cubs for fellow starter Chris Volstad during the offseason. "As spring training goes, it will be much better. I gave up three runs, but it doesn't matter. It just matters that I need to work on my arm, my strength and my conditioning to be ready for the season."

Zambrano, 30, made his first appearance since Aug. 12, when he was ejected from a Cubs game against the Braves after giving up five home runs. He then cleaned out his locker and talked about retiring before the Cubs suspended him without pay.

The three-time All-Star went 125-81 with a 3.60 ERA in 11 turbulent seasons with the Cubs. Eager to move him, the Cubs agreed to pay about $15.5 million of his $18 million salary this year.

"I don't pay attention to that," Zambrano said. "I just pay attention to … I'm on a new team. They love me here, and I want to be here."

Zambrano struck out the first two batters he faced. But he walked Jason Bay on four pitches, then walked Ike Davis despite getting ahead 1-and-2. Zambrano got ahead 1-and-2 against backup catcher Lucas May but allowed a two-run double.

"I was working on all my pitches," Zambrano said. "In a normal situation, I would have pounded the strike zone and just do what I have to do. I walked two guys, but I was working on my pitches. The sinker was good."

Astros: Starting pitcher Livan Hernandez, a nonroster invitee, left the game after being struck in the lower right leg by a liner. The righty, 37, said he felt okay but will wait until today to see if there is swelling.

Cardinals: Righty Chris Carpenter said he missed Wednesday's start because of a stiff neck that has bothered him for several days. The starter said he is unsure if he will throw his scheduled side session today. And centerfielder Carlos Beltran sat out Thursday with the flu.

Mariners: Catcher Adam Moore is out indefinitely after breaking his right wrist while blocking a ball in the dirt. He played only two games last year because of a torn meniscus in his right knee.

Nationals: Rightfielder Bryce Harper, 19, the top overall pick in 2010 trying to make the opening day roster, was scratched because of a tight left calf. He is day to day.

Twins: Lefty setup man Glen Perkins agreed to a four-year extension worth $10.3 million that includes a team option for 2016. In 65 games last year, he went 4-4 with a 2.48 ERA.

Zambrano plays down struggles 03/08/12 [Last modified: Thursday, March 8, 2012 8:29pm]
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