Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano has been suspended indefinitely following an outburst in the dugout where in which he needed to be separated from teammate Derrek Lee.
Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano has been suspended indefinitely following an outburst in the dugout that required him to be separated from teammate Derrek Lee.
"His conduct was not acceptable," said Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. "It has become a bit of a tired act."
Hendry said the situation is now in the hands of Major League Baseball and the players association.
Zambrano, apparently upset with the defense behind him, aimed his tirade at Lee, who failed to stop Juan Pierre's leadoff double down the right-field line.
He screamed as he walked down the dugout steps past Lee and stormed toward the other end. Lee appeared to yell something, and as Zambrano headed back toward him, manager Lou Piniella, pitching coach Larry Rothschild, and bench coach Alan Trammell stepped between them.
Cubs catcher Geovany Soto grabbed the pitcher from behind and pulled him away. Zambrano appeared to say something to Piniella on his way to the clubhouse after being lifted for Tom Gorzelanny, who came out to pitch the second inning.
Lee would not answer any questions on Zambrano's actions, but others in the clubhouse, like Ryan Theriot and Alfonso Soriano, said Zambrano "plays with a lot of emotion."
Still, Piniella said Zambrano's actions "can't be tolerated... it's embarrassing" and wants wants Zambrano to apologize to his teammates "at the least."
Piniella wouldn't address questions as to whether Zambrano is done as a Cub.
"That's not for me to say..." he said. "Whatever decision comes down, believe me, I will support it."
Zambrano left a few innings later, exiting through an auxiliary dugout used for still photographers. A stadium worker was waiting in a golf cart and drove him to the players parking lot. There, Zambrano yelled expletives to photo journalists from NBC Chicago and ABC 7 Chicago and tried to have them removed by security.
Zambrano has a history of blowups, including an altercation in the Wrigley Field dugout and clubhouse with former catcher Michael Barrett three years ago. He had been on good behavior this season.
Last year Milton Bradley was also sent home from US Cellular Field by Lou Piniella in the Cubs/Sox series, and ended his Cubs career suspended.
Zambrano is making $18 million and has a no trade clause.