Carlos Zambrano, who is 1-6 with a 7.62 ERA in his last nine starts, has moved to the bullpen. Taking his place in the rotation is lefty Wade LeBlanc, who will get the start on Wednesday night against the Braves.
LeBlanc has been impressive in long relief. In 11 games he is 1-1 with a 1.15 ERA, striking out 10 in 15 2/3 innings.
The veteran Zambrano has struggled with control and consistency. His most recent start was a prime example, as he threw five shutout innings to open the game against the Padres. But in the sixth inning, he didn't record an out, and he was charged with five runs (four earned).
San Diego won, 7-2, and manager Ozzie Guillen was baffled at how things turned sour so quickly.
In 20 starts this season, Zambrano is 5-9 with a 4.54 ERA. Walks have hurt him, as he racked up 67 in 115 innings.
Zambrano was upset by the news but accepted it.
"He was disappointed. He was embarrassed," Guillen said. "He feels bad because we brought him here and he's not doing [it] the way he thinks he can do it. When we make moves, [it's] not because we want to, it's because we have to."
Zambrano, who was acquired from the Cubs during the offseason in a trade for Chris Volstad, is a free agent after the season. There is still a chance that he could start Game 2 of Friday's doubleheader in Washington, but that will depend on how he is used during the four-game series at Atlanta.
Josh Johnson is expected to start Game 1 of the twin bill.
"Carlos took it the right way, and I expect that," Guillen said. "We're not going to take you out of the rotation because you are pitching well. He was fine. And I told him I will give him the opportunity to pitch."