Daily Herald
Zambrano accepts 6-game suspension
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 5/28/2009 4:21 PM | Updated: 5/28/2009 8:42 PM

Major League Baseball acted quickly, and Carlos Zambrano decided to move on.

Zambrano was suspended six games and fined $3,000 for "inappropriate and violent actions on the field and in the dugout" during Wednesday's game against the Pirates at Wrigley Field.

Instead of appealing, Zambrano accepted it. He'll be eligible to pitch next Thursday in Atlanta.

"When you make a mistake, when you do something wrong, you have to pay for it," he said. "I don't have a problem with that. I did something that disrespected MLB. I apologized, like I did yesterday. Let's move on."

Zambrano was ejected by umpire Mark Carlson after Carlson ruled the Pirates' Nyjer Morgan beat Zambrano's tag at home plate.

During a heated argument, the two men came into contact with one another, and Carlson ejected Zambrano. After that, Zambrano pretended to eject Carlson. He then threw the ball into left-center field, flung his glove into the dugout fence and then took a bat to the Gatorade dispenser in the dugout.

The Cubs maintained Carlson initiated the contact. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry relayed that to MLB disciplinarian Bob Watson.

"I did tell Bob Watson today that I felt like I was talking to him way too much the last few weeks," Hendry said, referring to other disciplinary actions against the Cubs. "We knew discipline was warranted and expected and we would accept it. I did make the point that I thought Mark Carlson's contact was initiated, whether it was accidental or not, by him first. And I thought he did an outstanding job calling the game after order was restored..."

The only time Zambrano appeared angry Thursday was when a reporter asked him about "changing" his behavior and cited Zambrano's fight with then-teammate Michael Barrett two years ago.

"How can you bring Michael Barrett into this conversation?" Zambrano shot back. "I'm a man. If somebody comes to me and is trying to beat me up, I have to respond. Nobody likes to get beat up. I don't say this to the umpire. If some man here, if some man outside tries to fight me, I will respond. And any man here would respond."

Cubs manager Lou Piniella said he and pitching coach Larry Rothschild spoke with Zambrano.

"I think the ruling was fair, yes, and Carlos does, also," Piniella said. "He just took it took it too far. We had a nice talk in my office, Carlos and Larry Rothschild, and told him, basically, that we weren't happy about the situation. I don't condone it. There's nothing wrong with being upset, but you've got to learn to walk away at the right time."