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Soriano says he confronted Zambrano before he walked out

Alfonso Soriano Cubs puts his cap sixth inning Wrigley Field Thursday August 11 2011 Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

Alfonso Soriano of the Cubs puts on his cap in the sixth inning at Wrigley Field Thursday, August 11, 2011, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: August 15, 2011 1:28PM

ATLANTA -- One of the last conversations Carlos Zambrano had with any of his teammates before clearing out his locker Friday night and “retiring” was a confrontation with left fielder Alfonso Soriano that may have helped precipitate Zambrano’s departure.

“I told him what he did was wrong,” Soriano told the Sun-Times on Sunday, confirming a report attributed to an unnamed source.

After Zambrano was ejected in the fifth inning for trying to hit Atlanta’s Chipper Jones with a pitch, Soriano went into the clubhouse once the half-inning ended and confronted Zambrano.

“We are human. We are not machines. He had a bad day, but you’re not supposed to hit some guy because they hit [home runs off] you,” Soriano said. “Now you put [your] hitters in a tough position because maybe sooner or later they want to hit one of us. That’s what I said to him. And I’m surprised they haven’t hit nobody yet.”

Zambrano’s response was not a lengthy one, Soriano said.

``He was angry and at the same time I think more frustrated,’’ he said. ``I just said it, and he told me one word that I don’t want to say, because he’s frustrated.’’

Soriano, due up fifth that inning, returned to the dugout soon after.

``Then I come up [to the clubhouse] in the seventh to see video of my at-bat and I see him dressed up,’’ Soriano said. ``I see him like ready to go, but I thought maybe he’d wait for the media and he’d want to explain what happened. I never even thought he might leave. When the game was over, I come in the room, and he’s not here.’’

Soriano said he hasn’t talked to Zambrano or seen him since, and remains puzzled over why any 30-year-old ballplayer would pack up and say he’s retiring after one rough game.

``You see all the people who want to be like we are, who want to be big-league players,’’ Soriano said, ``and you [throw it away]? Come on, you got to be smarter [than that].

“He’s not a bad person. I mean, the attitude that he has in the game, that makes everybody, like, tired, because it’s not one, it’s not two. At least every year he does something the hurts the team. At least once every year. But he’s not a bad person. He’s got to calm down his emotions in the game.”

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