Zambrano, Barrett put dugout scuffle behind them
CHICAGO -- Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano blamed himself for Friday's fight with teammate Michael Barrett that started in the dugout, resumed in the clubhouse and left the catcher needing six stitches at a hospital.
"It's all my fault," Zambrano said Saturday. "That's all I can say. I feel bad for that."
The Cubs fined Zambrano and Barrett an undisclosed amount. Neither player was suspended.
The outburst came during the fifth inning of Friday's 8-5 loss to Atlanta. Barrett wound up with a bruise below his left eye and a cut lower lip. He said he and Zambrano have had their differences, but it never became physical until Friday. He said there's no need for the pitcher to apologize.
The Cubs' clubhouse was a powder keg of emotion, perfectly prepared for an explosion, and there's plenty of blame to go around, writes Buster Olney. Blog
"I think it happened because Zambrano and I are so close," he said. "I think of him like a brother. It's like a sibling rivalry."
The Cubs had lost nine of 11 and were 22-30 entering Saturday, and frustrations finally boiled over.
"There's no need for what happened," manager Lou Piniella said. "The important thing is there's no continuation."
The Braves had scored five runs in the top of the fifth when Zambrano and Barrett went at it in the dugout. Zambrano pointed at his head and screamed at Barrett, who allowed a run to score on a passed ball and throwing error.
"I was just telling him, 'Are you out of your mind?'" Zambrano said, referring to the gesture.
Barrett yelled back while pointing toward the field, and matters escalated. Zambrano shoved Barrett and slapped him. He had his right fist cocked as the two were being separated. Piniella and several players escorted Zambrano to the clubhouse. Barrett went back to the clubhouse to talk to Zambrano, but there was more than talk.
"It came unexpected," Barrett said. "I just wanted to clear my mind, clear my head a bit. I underestimated what he was going through. I never would have thought it could have [happened]. I love Carlos. I know he loves me."
Neither player would reveal exactly what happened in the clubhouse.
"Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas," Zambrano said.
Zambrano and Barrett have expiring contracts, and both emphasized their loyalty to the organization.
When asked if he wants to remain a Cub, Zambrano said, "Of course."
I think it happened because Zambrano and I are so close. I think of him like a brother. It's like a sibling rivalry.
Barrett added: "I love this organization from top to bottom."
He said he looks forward to catching Zambrano again, but Piniella made clear that won't happen soon. Barrett was not in the lineup Saturday but was available.
Zambrano's emotions are his strength and weakness as a pitcher. He's off to a slow start at 5-5 with a 5.62 ERA.
This wasn't the first fight for Barrett, who touched off a bench-clearing brawl last season when he punched the White Sox's A.J. Pierzynski in the face.
"I respect this game and I respect others," Barrett said. "Sometimes our behavior speaks differently, and that's unfortunate because that's not what I'm about."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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