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Carlos Zambrano serves up homer to Cubs teammate in first Venezuelan start

Houston Astros v Chicago Cubs

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 22: Starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano #38 of the Chicago Cubs makes a face after getting Hunter Pence #9 of the Houston Astros to line out to left field during the third inning at Wrigley Field on July 22, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

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Carlos Zambrano made his first Venezuelan winter league start yesterday and his Cubs teammate Bryan LaHair took him deep as part of 2.2 innings of two-run ball.

Zambrano last started for the Cubs three months ago, so Los Caribes de Anzoátegui is limiting his workload for now. He needed 60 pitches to record eight outs and issued two walks, hit one batter, and committed a throwing error.

And according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune the crowd gave Zambrano a standing ovation as he exited the game in the middle of the third inning.

Theo Epstein has said the Cubs are in favor of Zambrano pitching in Venezuela and plan to have someone on hand to watch his starts, so his performance may determine whether they eat a big portion of his $18 million salary to make a trade or decide to simply hang onto Zambrano for the final year of his $91.5 million contract.