CHICAGO (AP) — Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano was suspended for six games by Major League Baseball on Thursday, a day after his tirade during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Zambrano said he won’t appeal the penalty, which included a fine. Barring rainouts, he is eligible to return next Thursday and start that night at Atlanta.
“Well, you know, I think I’m a pretty good judge of when you make a mistake, when you do something wrong, you have to pay for it,”Zambrano said. “I don’t have a problem with that. I know that I did something that disrespected MLB. I apologize like I did yesterday, and let’s move on. I accept the suspension.”
Chicago manager Lou Piniella said the penalty was reasonable.
“I think the ruling was fair,” Piniella said. “I think Carlos does, also. He just took it too far. I think he realizes that. We had a nice talked in my office with Carlos and (pitching coach) Larry Rothschild and told him basically we weren’t happy about the situation and we are not going to condone it, and that there is nothing wrong with being upset but you got to learn to walk away at the right time.”
The loss of Zambrano will shorten Chicago’s bench. Zambrano is hitting .261 with one home run.
“Not only does he miss his regular start, we use him to pinch-hit time to time, so it hurts us on two fronts,” Piniella said.
Zambrano threw a baseball into left field and slammed his glove against the dugout fence after he was ejected Wednesday, moments after his wild pitch let the Pirates tie it at 2 in the seventh inning. The Cubs won 5-2.
With Nyjer Morgan at third, Zambrano’s wild pitch just got away from catcher Geovany Soto. Zambrano covered the plate for Soto’s throw, Morgan slid and umpire Mark Carlson ruled him safe.
The excitable Zambrano jumped up, argued and was ejected after he appeared to nudge Carlson. Zambrano then pointed in Carlson’s face and gave him the ejection sign.
He then fired a ball into left, tossed his glove and took a bat to a dugout drink dispenser before heading to the clubhouse.
Bob Watson, baseball’s vice president in charged is discipline, cited Zambrano for “inappropriate and violent actions on the field and in the dugout.”
“Obviously his actions after he left the plate area were certainly warranting some kind of penalty,” Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. “I don’t have a problem with the emotions showed at the plate and even if it leads to an ejection. Obviously you have to be able to control yourself better than he did after that.”
It wasn’t the first time that Zambrano had a public meltdown. In 2007, he got into a fight with former teammate Michael Barrett in the dugout. The fight then resumed in the clubhouse.
Zambrano got agitated with a reporter when the incident was brought up.
“How can you bring Michael Barrett into this conversation? Man, I’m a man, you know. If somebody comes to me and tries to beat me up, I have to respond, you know? Nobody likes to get beat up, you know? I don’t say this to the umpire,” he said.
“If some man here or some man outside is trying to get me up or trying to fire me up, I will respond. And anybody here, any man here will respond,” he said. “Am I right? Nobody likes to be hit. Nobody likes to be fired up. Nobody. As a man you don’t like to be pushed up or you don’t like to be, you don’t like somebody to kick your butt. You will respond as a man. So don’t bring Michael Barrett in this conversation. We’re talking about the incident yesterday, not Michael Barrett.”