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Aramis Ramirez: Carlos Zambrano hurt Cubs most by not pitching

Updated: April 11, 2012 8:08AM

MARYVALE, Ariz. — Aramis Ramirez is well aware that he and fellow Cubs expatriate Carlos Zambrano have been portrayed as examples of the old Cubs “culture’’ that needed to be redefined in their wake.

In Zambrano’s case, the Cubs are paying more than $15 million this year to let him pitch for Ozzie Guillen and the Miami Marlins rather than bring his often disruptive presence back into the clubhouse.

Perhaps surprisingly, Ramirez said he didn’t have a big problem with Zambrano.

“I know a lot of people in the clubhouse might not agree with me,’’ said Ramirez, who faces the Cubs on Saturday for the first time since signing with the Milwaukee Brewers. “They don’t have to. Everybody has their own opinion.

“He did a lot of wrong things. He did a lot of things that you’re not supposed to do. He disrespected his teammates a lot — he knows that — by leaving the field or packing his stuff and going home. You don’t do that.

“But at the same time, he’s human. He made a lot of mistakes; he’d be the first one to tell you.’’

Asked if Zambrano, a six-time Opening Day starter, hurt the team more than he helped, Ramirez said: “He hurt the team by not being out there and pitching every day [because of lengthy suspensions in 2010 and ’11].

“Even when he’s not doing well, he’s better than anybody else we throw out there. So he hurt us in that way.’’

NOTES: Catcher Geovany Soto (groin) is expected to get his first game action of the spring Saturday against the Brewers.

◆ The Cubs made the first cuts of camp Friday, sending pitchers Marco Carrillo and Trey McNutt, infielder Jonathan Mota and outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha to the minor-league side of camp. It leaves them 34 to go.

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