Zambrano sharp in rehab stint

At this point, it might not be enough

Carlos Zambrano, RHP, Cubs (Low-A Peoria)
Thursday's stats: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K
On the shelf since early in the month with back spasms, Zambrano carved up Midwest League hitters Thursday in preparation for a return to the Cubs' rotation. The problem is, it might be too little, too late, as the Cardinals have the biggest lead of any division leader (seven games) and the North Siders have four teams ahead of them in the wild-card race. It's looking nearly impossible for the Cubs to make the playoffs at this point, but it would be even more so without Big Z.

This much closer to the big leagues

Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Rays (Triple-A Durham)
Thursday's stats: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 10 K
Hellickson continues his ascension up the Rays' prospect list on his journey to the big leagues, as he needed just five innings to establish a season high in strikeouts. With the International League batting just .192 against him, Hellickson is ready for a look, in the eyes of many, but at this point it would cost a roster spot, so it's a brief September look at best.

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