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Phillies sign Carlos Zambrano to minor-league contract

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

Carlos Zambrano (USATSI)
Carlos Zambrano is back in baseball. (USATSI)

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The Phillies are dealing with injuries to Roy Halladay and John Lannan. So, on Wednesday, they added a formerly big-name pitcher for minor-league depth. Philadelphia has signed Carlos Zambrano to a minor-league contract, the team announced.

"We're just looking to add some starting pitching depth to the organization," said assistant GM Scott Proefrock to CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler. "We're taking a chance. It's low-risk, hopefully high-reward."

Zambrano, 31, will head to extended spring training. The team made him no promises about coming to the big leagues, and he can opt-out of the contract on July 1. The Phillies and several other teams scouted the four-time All-Star in Miami on Monday, according to Knobler.

Zambrano agreed to join the independent Long Island Ducks just last week, but Knobler confirmed he never actually signed the contract, instead holding out for an opportunity with one of the 30 MLB teams. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. denied the team was close to signing the right-hander at that time.

With the Marlins last year, Zambrano pitched to a 4.49 ERA in 132 1/3 innings spread across 20 starts and 15 relief appearances. He managed a 3.33 ERA as recently as 2010 with the Cubs. Once a perennial 200-inning workhorse, Zambrano failed to throw more than 150 innings in each of the last three seasons.

Halladay (shoulder surgery) is likely out for the season, and Lannan (quad) could return in early June. Right-hander John Pettibone has been solid in five starts as Lannan's replacement (3.41 ERA), and righty Tyler Cloyd filled in admirably for Halladay last week (two runs in 6 1/3 innings).

The Phillies are 19-21, 3 1/2 games back of the first-place Braves in the NL East.

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