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Zambrano expects to sign one-year deal

MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano
said he expects to sign a one-year contract before Tuesday's
scheduled arbitration hearing.

"I think it's 85 to 90 percent that we don't go to
arbitration," Zambrano said Monday.

Zambrano caused a stir last week when he told WGN-TV he would
leave as a free agent if he did not have a multiyear contract by
Opening Day, but backed off that request.

He earned $6.5 million last season when he was 16-7 with a 3.41
ERA and 210 strikeouts, then asked for $15.5 million in
arbitration. The Cubs countered at $11.025 million, which is more
than any player has been awarded.

Zambrano has said he is seeking a salary similar to that of
Barry Zito, who signed a seven-year $126 million contract with San
Francisco. A multiyear deal with the Cubs would likely be in the
five-year range, but Zambrano said that "can wait."

"I have six more weeks to think about it," Zambrano said.
"They have six more weeks, also."

The last Cubs player to go to arbitration was Mark Grace in
1993, when the general manager was Larry Himes, and neither side
wants that streak to end. General manager Jim Hendry and agent
Barry Praver met Sunday. Praver said Monday night there was no news
to report.

"I spoke to [Hendry] earlier today," Zambrano said. "We'll
get some agreement. I don't think we'll go to the trial tomorrow."