"He threw much better," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Thursday. "He's getting much closer. He'll pitch Sunday and we'll kind of make a decision from there."
Zambrano allowed five hits, one walk and struck out six Tuesday. He is 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA in five Minor League starts, but in his previous start last week his fastball sat in the mid-80s. Amaro said he saw improvement there.
Zambrano must be placed on the big league roster by July 1 or he can ask for his release. He could make only one more start in the Minors beyond Sunday before the Phillies have to make a decision. If Zambrano joins the team he would likely replace rookie right-hander Jonathan Pettibone, who is 3-3 with a 4.40 ERA in 11 starts, although he is 0-3 with a 6.98 ERA in his last four starts.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.