If Zombro's name sounds familiar, it is probably because of what occurred on June 3, 2021. While pitching for the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Ray's Triple-A team), he was struck just above his right ear with a line drive. The ball had an exit velocity of 104 mph. The impact knocked Zombro out, fractured his skull, and sent him into seizures. Many of his coaches and teammates wondered if he would make it off the field alive.
"It was the single most traumatic thing I've ever seen on a baseball field. We rolled him over, and he's got turf all over his face, all over his body. He's turning gray. It was brutal...I thought we were going to lose him."- Rick Knapp Tampa Bay Rays coach
Zombro refused to let the injury keep him from playing the game that he loves. After a lengthy rehab regiment and numerous tests, he was cleared to pitch again at the end of 2021. But after making only two Triple-A appearances in April of 2022, Zombro had to be shut down yet again and this time underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgery.
The 28-year-old, undrafted right hander out of George Mason University is no stranger to hard work and overcoming obstacles. Despite being released by the Rays on March 26th of this year, Zombro has not given up. He has continued to fight and work on his craft in the hopes that an opportunity to pitch again would arise. With the current unpredictability coming from the Rangers bullpen this season, Zombro's next chance is coming in Texas.
Zombro is more than likely not going to be that back of the pen, shutdown guy that everyone is longing to acquire. However, he does have solid minor league numbers and will give the Rangers another option if he performs well in Round Rock. Across five minor league seasons, Zombro has pitched in 99 games and thrown 179 1/3 innings. He has a record of 11-4 to go along with 20 saves, has struck out 144, walked only 28, has a 2.91 ERA, and a 1.138 WHIP.
This signing is not just about a feel-good story. The Rangers are not seeking some good publicity and attention, they are looking to win games in Arlington. Texas is risking little to see if Zombro can get back to his zone pounding days. If he can, and executes well in Triple-A, he could get that call up and have his major league debut. That would be a feel-good story, and also help the Rangers bullpen at the same time. And what that is called, is a win, win.