Carlos Zambrano was trying to encourage his Cubs teammates, not berate them, during the dugout tirade that led to his indefinite suspension, a source close to Zambrano tells the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmeyer.
Zambrano’s teammates, in particular left fielder Alfonso Soriano, aren’t buying that explanation. "That’s not the way we see it." Soriano tells Wittenmeyer.
Adds another, unnamed Cub, "Anybody who believes [Zambrano’s version] must be smoking something."
The source close to Zambrano tells Wittenmeyer that all the pitcher wanted to do "was pump the team up. It was completely misunderstood," According to the source, Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee made the situation worse by taking things personally and telling Zambrano to "shut the (expletive) up."
Soriano planned to call Zambrano on Saturday to discuss the matter. "If he explains, maybe we can see it the way his friend sees it. But what he said wasn’t right," Soriano tells Wittenmeyer.
Lee appeared to be a target of Zambrano’s ire after Lee failed to stop a leadoff double by the White Sox’s Juan Pierre in the first inning Friday. Zambrano eventually allowed four runs in the inning.
Cubs sources tell Wittenmeyer that Zambrano yelled, among other things, "This team is horse(expletive)" during the bilingual (Spanish and English) outburst. That’s when Lee intervened.