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Carlos Zambrano hit in face by line drive

New Cubs manager Dale Sveum had long playing career after lengthy injury. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

New Cubs manager Dale Sveum had a long playing career after a lengthy injury. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: December 21, 2011 8:31AM

Pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who’s trying to earn his way back on the Cubs for the final year of his contract, needed 16 stitches after being hit in the face by a line drive during his start Friday in a Venezuelan winter league game.

The drive was deflected slightly by Zambrano’s glove before striking him just below and to the right of his mouth.

The Cubs say they’ve heard Zambrano, who had the best of his three winter starts Friday, was doing well Saturday. He reportedly told his winter team that he plans to make his next start on Friday.

Coaches wanted

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he has a few names in mind for his pitching coach, but he added that the position probably will take the longest to fill on his new staff. Some major-league sources expect him to hire former Brewers teammate Chris Bosio, who has coached in the majors and minors.

Contract for Castro?

Shortstop Starlin Castro, who was in town last week to meet with team president Theo Epstein, could be in line for a contract extension that buys out some of his arbitration years. But his agent, Paul Kinzer, said Castro is in no rush. ‘‘He’s going to get paid well soon enough anyhow,’’ Kinzer said.

Cubs eyeing Cubans

While the Cubs are widely reported to be working out hot commodity and Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes in the Dominican Republic this weekend, sources said the team is focusing more on another power-hitting Cuban outfielder who’s being worked out, Jorge Soler.

At 19, Soler is a younger version of the athletic Cespedes, 26. Asked about Soler, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer only said that the team is looking at multiple players during this trip to the Dominican Republic.

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