GM open to Carlos Zambrano return

Updated: September 14, 2010, 7:19 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

General manager Jim Hendry said Tuesday he would like to see pitcher Carlos Zambrano back in a Chicago Cubs uniform in 2011.

"We hope so," Hendry said Tuesday on ESPN 101.1 FM in St. Louis. "He really seems to have gotten himself in a good spot. His last five or six starts have been outstanding. We've had Carlos since he was 16. I know people don't believe this but 90 percent of the time he's really been a pleasure to be around and a quality citizen.

"He has his snaps obviously that have led to some of his demise, but he didn't pitch very well for a year, year and a half after such a great start to his career. I think when we gave him the contract he was only 26 years old and one of the elite guys in the league."

Hendry ultimately controls the Cubs future of Zambrano, who has two years and $36 million left on his $91 million contract. Zambrano, who has a no-trade clause, said earlier in the season that he would allow the Cubs to trade him, but backed off that claim soon after.

"I don't want to talk about that," Zambrano said Friday when asked about a potential trade. "I feel happy, I love this team and I want to stay here. I want to stay here the rest of my contract. No more trade talk."

Zambrano is 5-0 since returning from the restricted list on Aug. 9. He missed five weeks with a negotiated deal that had the volatile Cubs pitcher attending anger-management therapy, which he will continue to undergo for another six months.

Zambrano's tumultuous 2010 season began when he was sent to the bullpen after struggling in the rotation. His dugout tirade against then-teammate Derrek Lee led to a long stay on the restricted list and eventually a stint in the minor leagues before he returned to the Cubs.

"He isn't too old to get it together and be a heck of a pitcher again," Hendry said.

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