MIAMI (AP) - Miami Marlins right-hander Carlos Zambrano says his stiff lower back feels much better, less than 24 hours after he had to leave a game in the third inning.

Zambrano, who has had back trouble before, said he began the game Saturday in discomfort and then aggravated the problem. He departed after allowing seven runs in 2 1-3 innings against Tampa Bay and took the loss, which left him 4-4 with an ERA of 3.55.

The Marlins have two off days in the next eight days, allowing them flexibility if they decide Zambrano's not ready to take his next scheduled turn.