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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Former teammates happy for Zambrano

By Bruce Levine

CHICAGO -- The news of Carlos Zambrano's return to professional baseball with the Philadelphia Phillies was not shocking to several former Chicago Cubs teammates.

Zambrano signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies on Tuesday. The contract gives no assurances Zambrano will make the major league roster. The 31-year-old pitcher
can opt out of his agreement with the Phillies in July if he has not been promoted to the 25-man roster.

"I always saw Zambrano when he was here in a good way," Soriano said. "I never saw anything about him fighting with his teammates. I am happy he got another job, and I hope he does great in Philly."

Zambrano last pitched for the Cubs in August 2011. During a game in Atlanta, Zambrano gave up five home runs (a team record) in less than five innings. An angry and humiliated Zambrano cleared out his locker and told clubhouse personnel that he had quit. He never pitched for the team again. He was traded to Miami for starter Chris Volstad in January 2012.

A three-time All Star who tossed the Cubs' first no-hitter in 36 years, Zambrano struggled in his lone season in Miami. He lost his rotation spot and pitched out of the bullpen in the second half of the season. After going 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA, he was unable to secure an offer in the offseason.

"He is the ultimate competitor," said Cubs closer Kevin Gregg, who was also without a job when the season began until the Cubs signed him in mid-April. "He wants to win more than anything. He has a lot of flare while wearing his emotions on his sleeve. Sometimes that can be interpreted the wrong way but the bottom line is every time I saw him take the mound he wanted to win."

A loss of temper caused numerous problems with teammates during his star-crossed Cubs career. Among those episodes, Zambrano called out closer Carlos Marmol in St Louis during the 2010 season, telling the media Marmol's pitch selection was wrong and cost the team a victory.

"I am happy he got a job," Marmol said. "It is tough on any player to prove yourself again. Now he has a job, he has a chance to get back."

Zambrano dropped by to see his former teammates at Wrigley Field three weeks ago in a surprise visit.

"I talked to him for a few minutes," Marmol said. "It was about family stuff. We didn't talk about baseball. I didn't know he was trying to comeback."