Carlos Zambrano says he's frustrated
Carlos Zambrano in photos
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Zambrano made headlines Friday when he cleaned out his locker in Atlanta's Turner Field after being ejected and left the ballpark before the game was over. He told people in the clubhouse he was retiring, although his agent Barry Praver told Cubs general manager Jim Hendry a couple of hours later that Zambrano wasn't retiring.
Hendry put Zambrano on the disqualified list, meaning he would serve a 30-day suspension without pay and was unable to participate in team activities. The players union planned to file a grievance on Monday.
On Sunday, Zambrano told ESPN's Pedro Gomez that he wanted to join the Cubs on Saturday but was told he couldn't. He also told Gomez that he was incredibly frustrated with the way he's pitched.
"I have nothing against the Cubs," Zambrano told Gomez. "I have the Cubs in my heart. I was upset with myself because I wasn't pitching the way I am supposed to. It's frustrating. One of the things affecting me is that I'm being paid $18 million a year and I feel like I'm pitching like a $2 million dollar a year pitcher.
"I feel like I haven't been pulling my weight. I did want to retire for a short while that night but I changed after taking some time. I still feel like I could pitch for the Cubs, but it's obviously their decision at this point."
Hendry didn't discuss Zambrano's latest comments.
"Nothing else needs to be said (about Zambrano's situation)," Hendry said. "The process will run its course."
Despite describing Zambrano as mentally weak after Friday's incident, Alfonso Soriano also was one of the people who texted his support to Zambrano. Others included Marlon Byrd, Carlos Pena and Jason Giambi.
"That (talk of retirement) never should have come out of my mouth, but I said it," Zambrano said on Comcast. "But at same time ... so many people talked to me that night. I appreciate that Sammy Sosa called me ...
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"The organization has been good to me. It's great. I've been with the Cubs 14 years, and they've been great to me, and the fans have been great to me. Nothing to complain. I've made some mistakes, yes. And when I make a mistake I accept it. But this time it was for something I say. For something I say I was punished or disciplined. So now I can't say nothing."
This is only the latest in a long line of incidents for Zambrano.
That includes a fight with former catcher Michael Barrett and a dugout confrontation with then-teammate Derrek Lee last season that led to him being placed on the restricted list for six weeks and sent to anger management.
This season, he called the Cubs "embarrassing" and a "Triple-A team" while calling out closer Carlos Marmol for giving up a tying hit to Ryan Theriot on a slider after a loss to St. Louis in June. But it's not like Zambrano has been doing his part at 9-7 with a 4.82 ERA.
Zambrano said he has a good relationship with manager Mike Quade even though "some of the decisions that he made I didn't like" and called Hendry "a great person." Even so, he didn't understand why he was being punished. He said he deserved it following the blowup with Lee, but this time?
"This one I really don't understand," Zambrano said.
Zambrano was ejected Friday for throwing two pitches at Chipper Jones after surrendering five home runs to the Braves.
"Why would I be hitting Chipper that night," Zambrano said on Comcast. "He's the main guy on the Braves.
"I threw some cutters inside because I don't want them to extend their arms. They were too comfortable. If I want to hit somebody, I hit him. I have a good target when I want to hit somebody. I don't miss players. They were cutters. When a pitcher is trying to hit somebody, they do it with a fastball."
As for his future, Zambrano isn't sure what will happen. He did make it clear he hopes to stay put, though.
"If the Cubs welcome me, I'll be with the team again," he said. "If they decide to do something else, I'll have to play for somebody else. In the bottom of my heart, I will be a Cubbie forever."
The Cubs promoted left-handed pitcher Scott Maine from Triple-A Iowa on Monday to temporarily fill the spot left open by Zambrano.
Information from ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine and The Associated Press was used in this report.