The Cubs disciplined Carlos Zambrano, following his outburst in the dugout last month, by advising the maligned hurler that he still has to pitch for them consistent with the terms laid out in the five-year, $91 million contract he signed in 2007.

“What?” a stunned Zambrano asked as he boarded a cab to O’Hare. “I thought I was going to be suspended for the rest of the year. You mean I have to pitch for the Cubs? I’d rather be sitting on a beach in Hawaii.”

“His conduct was not acceptable,” Cubs GM Jim Hendry said of Zambrano’s tirade against teammates, particularly Derrek Lee.

Hendry said he considered several scenarios for Zambrano including a stint in the minors or trade to any team crazy enough to take the troubled manchild with significantly diminished skills. In the end, Hendry felt the toughest punishment was to force Zambrano to pitch for one of the worst teams in the league in front of its increasingly angry fanbase just dying to shout obscenties at underperforming players.

“Big Z’s emotions have become a bit of a tired act,” said Hendry. “We have decided that the best course of punitive action is to have him pitch for us, as cruel and unusual as that may be.”

From the July 2010 issue by Rob C. Christiansen. Click here to subscribe today!