Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano is done for season
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com September 2, 2011 9:24AM
Updated: September 2, 2011 10:48PM
Carlos Zambrano might pitch in the majors again, but his career with the Cubs probably came to an end Friday with a team statement that declared his season over.
Zambrano’s 30-day unpaid suspension ends Sept. 11, an action the players association is fighting in a grievance process that will extend into the offseason.
The Cubs’ statement said the club will resume paying Zambrano once the suspension ends but he won’t pitch for the team again. The official reason: Zambrano wouldn’t have enough time to return to playing form before the end of the season.
But team owner Tom Ricketts has all but said the veteran right-hander’s days as a Cub ended when he left the team in a huff Aug. 12 after being ejected from a game against the Atlanta Braves. Zambrano never spoke to anyone directly when he declared he would retire and left the clubhouse that night. Zambrano recanted his statements later, but to no avail.
Team officials said the statement would be their only comment on Zambrano. His locker, which had held some of his possessions through the last homestand, was empty Friday.
‘‘The statement speaks for itself,’’ manager Mike Quade said. ‘‘It was a disappointing situation. We’ll see how the grievance situation goes.’’
Zambrano went 9-7 with a 4.82 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 1452/3 innings. His career numbers, all with the Cubs, stand at 125-81 with a 3.60 ERA. He also has a no-hitter, two All-Star Game appearances and a franchise-best 23 home runs as a pitcher.
Zambrano is in the fourth year of a five-year deal that pays him $18 million next season and includes a $19,250,000 option in 2013 that vests if he finishes in the top four of the 2012 Cy Young Award vote and he is healthy at the end of the season. The contract also carries full no-trade rights.
‘‘It saddens me,’’ Carlos Pena said. ‘‘I was able to build a friendship with him. It was a very sad situation, not only for us, but him. I know it’s been hard for him.
‘‘We should focus on the good times. He was dominating at times and a good teammate. Baseball is our career, but there is more to life.’’