Cubs ponder what to do next with Z

CHICAGO -- The Carlos Zambrano saga continued Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry and manager Lou Piniella talked about Zambrano's situation and lack of perspective in choosing to go out to dinner with White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen after being suspended during Friday's game for his dugout tirade.

I asked Piniella if he would ever go out to dinner with another team's player during a season.

The Cubs manager decided to spin it into what he did and how he felt after Friday's debacle.

"Let me tell you this, I hadn't seen my daughter since I left for spring training," Piniella said. "That was mid-February. She got in Friday night from Tampa, and I got home to my apartment. My wife and daughter wanted me to go and eat dinner with them. I was sick from what had happened, and I was very tired. And I was embarrassed. They went out and ate by themselves. I stayed home. That's all I've got to say about that situation."

Piniella and Hendry as well as Zambrano's teammates are unsure how this episode will play out.

Piniella was asked if players in today's game will stand up and accept responsibility when their play on the field deteriorates.

"I think the best way for any athlete and manager and coach is to go look in the mirror," Piniella said. "The mirror doesn't lie."

Hendry said Zambrano's situation must be handled first by Major League Baseball and the players association before it can be determined how long of a suspension or what remedy the Cubs and Zambrano's agent can come up with. Hendry and the Cubs have stood by Zambrano in the past when his behavior got out of hand with teammates but not this time.

"He'll have some issues to deal with with his treammates," Hendry said. "The last few years when he hasn't pitched as well, there's been some other instances. I don't think he would be referred to as an ideal teammate. That's for him to rectify with his own teammates. That wasn't the first instance when [he didn't display being the best teammate]."

Hendry said he went through proper channels to get the approval from his bosses to discipline Zambrano. His first move was to call team president Crane Kenney.

"[Kenney] spoke to some of the Ricketts family, and we certainly had their blessing on the discipline that I enacted," Hendry said.

Hendry, like Piniella, wasn't pleased with Zambrano's decision to go to dinner with Guillen after the explosive day at the Cell.

"I would think in those type of circumstances, even if you had plans before that, better judgment would have kept you home that night," Hendry said. "I think after what you went through, what you've gone through, what you did with your teammates, you might be better served staying at home."

  • Hendry said he talked to Zambrano's agent, Barry Praver, three times on Saturday. He wouldn't go into detail about the discussions but most certainly it centered around how Major Leaque Baseball, the Cubs and the Zambrano camp want to handle this mess.

  • Derrek Lee's back is acting up on him. According to Piniella, two four-hour flights between Seattle might have caused the stiffness. Lee was the designated hitter again on Sunday.

  • Piniella talked about his meeting with the team prior to Saturday's game and said it was a good open forum where players were able to express themselves about what they would like to see happen to the team as far as changes. One source told ESPN Chicago that the players asked Piniella if he could accommodate them by posting the next day's lineups the night before the next game. Some of the players felt that would help in preparation and treatment of injuries.