Carlos Zambrano lost it Friday and his future with the Cubs may be bordering on lost as well. After giving up a leadoff double to Juan Pierre down the first-base line, a double to Alex Rios, a single to Paul Konerko and a three-run homer to Carlos Quentin, Zambrano got vocal on his way back into the dugout. The vocal animosity was directed toward Derrek Lee and, as we learned after the game, involved Zambrano’s displeasure with Derrek Lee for not diving for the ball Pierre hit down the line in the first.
As the two got into a heated exchange Lou Piniella and other members of the Cubs’ coaching staff had to get between the two and separate them. Zambrano was pulled from the game after just that one inning and Tom Gorzelanny was called into the game.
The Cubs may be seeing much more of Tom Gorzelanny as general manager Jim Hendry said after the game that Zambrano “has been suspended indefinitely, you know, pending the normal investigation of MLB and the player’s association.”
Hendry went on to address the situation with Zambrano. “His conduct was not acceptable,” Hendry said. “His actions toward his teammates and staff are not acceptable and he will not be at the ballpark tomorrow. We’ll play with twenty-four.”
While Hendry didn’t say just how long the suspension would be as that is pending the investigation, he made it clear that he is an advocate for stringent discipline. “I think actions in certain cases certainly merit severe discipline besides just, ‘You can’t come to the park tomorrow.’ There has been other instances preceeding this … I would be in favor of stringent discipline.”
Hendry said that he had a brief chat with Zambrano after he was removed from the ballgame and told him he was suspended. It seemed as though it was a very one-sided conversation as Hendry said, “There wasn’t a lot of time for apologies,” when asked whether Zambrano was contrite after the altercation.
Zambrano has gone through quite a bit throughout the season. Obviously his shift to the bullpen was out of the ordinary but Hendry said, “I don’t think that has anything to do with what happened earlier in the season. He went to the bullpen because the other five starters were pitching better than he was.”