Even though it meant he was out of work during the baseball season for the first time in a long while, Carlos Zambrano is happy he got to spend Mother’s Day with his mother. He’d like to spend Father’s Day as part of the Phillies’ starting five.

The right-hander, whom the Phillies signed to a minor-league contract last month, donned a Reading uniform on Saturday and threw six innings of one-run ball against Harrisburg in the continuance of what he hopes will be a return to a major league rotation. His only blemish was a solo home run surrendered to first baseman Jimmy Van Ostrand in the second inning.

“I’m ready,” he said afterward. “I’m ready to help the team and do whatever they want.”

Regardless of his wishes, the plan for Zambrano going forth is undecided. Reading manager Dusty Wathan said Saturday that Zambrano will be with the team on Sunday to do his regular running and exercises.

Zambrano started last season in the Marlins’ rotation before being sent to the bullpen, an experience that he counted among the worst in his 12-year career.

“I want to be a starter,” said Zambrano, who can opt out of his deal if he is not added to the major league roster by July 1. “I signed here to be a starter. Last year was miserable when I went to the bullpen. I didn’t enjoy that. That’s why I signed here.”

Zambrano hit as high as 91 mph with his fastball early in the game, but dipped into the mid-80s by the third. He allowed one run on three hits over six innings. He struck out seven and walked three, and threw 57 of his 97 pitches for strikes.

By comparison, his average heater velocity last season was 89 mph, and at its peak hit 94 on the gun, according to Fangraphs.com.

Over his last two starts with High-A Clearwater, Zambrano allowed seven hits over 10 1/3 shutout frames. He struck out five and walked four. He also made two prior starts in extended spring training, but statistics from those outings are neither readily available nor particularly helpful.