Carlos Zambrano isn't retiring after all.
Don't look for him in a Cubs uniform anytime soon, though -- if ever again.
The Cubs placed their volatile 30-year-old right-hander on the 30-day disqualified list on Saturday. The decision comes a day after Zambrano was ejected from the Cubs' 10-4 loss to the Braves in Atlanta, then emptied his locker and was said to be mulling retirement.
Zambrano reportedly returned to the clubhouse Friday after the team had departed and put his belongings back in his locker.
Zambrano will not be paid during the 30 days, nor is he allowed any activity with the club while Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association discuss his activities from Friday night.
General manager Jim Hendry called Zambrano's actions "intolerable." Hendry has not spoken to Zambrano, but has had contact with Zambrano's representative Barry Praver. Praver maintained Zambrano is not retiring and told ESPNChicago.com that the Players Association will file a grievance on Monday due to the severity of the punishment.
"This was the most stringent penalty that our club could inflict without a release," Hendry told reporters before Saturday's game. "There's not much worse than running out on your teammates in the middle of a ballgame, unpacking your locker, announcing your retirement."
The Cubs beat the Braves 8-4 Saturday night, Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney both going 4-for-5. In the game Atlanta's Dan Uggla extended his hitting streak to 33 games.
Zambrano wasn't finding much support from his Cubs teammates.
"He's been doing a lot of things, not once or twice -- he's got to think a little bit more," Alfonso Soriano told reporters Saturday. "He's a big man, but mentally he's weak.
"It's 50/50 (on Zambrano's return)," Soriano later added. "If he comes back and changes his attitude, he's more than welcome."
Ryan Dempster said he "guessed" Zambrano would never pitch again for the Cubs.
"I think he made his stance pretty clear of what he wanted to do," Dempster told reporters Saturday. "Maybe it will be best for both sides."
Marlon Byrd said he had briefly spoke to Zambrano, and predicted that his Cubs teammate would return to the team and apologize to the players. He stopped short of saying Zambrano will pitch for the Cubs again.
"I'm sure he's going to pitch again. Where? I don't know," Byrd told reporters Saturday. "What happened (Friday), I don't know. You can't explain until you talk to him."
If Friday was Zambrano's last night in a Cubs uniform, it's a fitting end to a turbulent 10-plus years with the team.
Zambrano surrendered a career-high 5 homers Friday, then was thrown out of the game after twice throwing at Atlanta's Chipper Jones.
On Opening Day 2005, Zambrano was ejected for arguing balls and strikes one out shy of qualifying for a win against the Diamondbacks. In 2007 Zambrano and Cubs catcher Michael Barrett came to blows in the dugout over pitch selection. In 2009 Zambrano was ejected from a game against the Pirates, then grabbed a bat and took out a Gatorade cooler in the Cubs dugout.
Last season Zambrano was placed on the restricted list for six weeks after a dugout blowup with Derrek Lee against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Earlier this season Zambrano called the Cubs a "Triple-A team" and an "embarassment."
"It's not like it's something new," Dempster said. "It's been one thing after another. We've had to deal with it."
The Cubs reportedly attempted to peddle Zambrano and his contract to the New York Yankees earlier this summer, but the Yankees apparently had zero interest.
Zambrano is 9-8 this season in 24 starts with a 4.82 ERA -- his highest since his 2001 rookie year. He has one year remaining on a five-year, $91.5 million contract with a vesting option for 2013.
Count ESPN analyst and ex-Cub pitcher Rick Sutcliffe as one who believes it is time for the Cubs and Zambrano to severe their combustible relationship.
"You know that it was (Zambrano's) pride that got in the way, that created the situation -- but enough's enough," Sutcliffe said Saturday on ESPN 1000's 'Talkin' Baseball.' "The Cubs at this point need to sit down with him and figure out a way to end this relationship because it's not working there."
Former Brave all-star pitcher John Smoltz agreed that Zambrano's act has worn out its welcome.
"You can always forgive a moment," Smoltz told ESPN.com. "You can understand a moment. But there's been too many moments for Carlos Zambrano. And I think now something will have to be done if you're the Cubs because you can't afford another moment."