Zambrano served up five home runs to the Braves last Friday, then threw inside twice to Chipper Jones and was ejected from the game with one out in the fifth inning. He subsequently packed his gear, told team officials he was retiring, and left the ballpark before the game was over.
The Cubs placed Zambrano on the disqualified list on Saturday, which forbids him from being around the team for 30 days. He also will not be paid during that period.
However, the MLBPA has filed a grievance to lessen the penalty. A spokesman for the Players Union said Thursday there is no timetable regarding the grievance process. The two sides will eventually meet, and if no settlement is reached, there will be a hearing in front of an arbitrator.
The disqualified list allows a team to punish a player without compromising the rest of the roster. Players can only be placed on the list if they violate the terms of their contract or the collective bargaining agreement. In addition, players cannot be placed on the disqualified list without the approval of the Commissioner. Sanctioned players are not paid and do not accrue service time while on the list.
The last prominent player to be placed on the disqualified list was reliever Francisco Rodriguez, who was sanctioned by the Mets for getting in an altercation with a family member at the ballpark. The MLBPA filed a grievance in support of Rodriguez and the two sides ultimately reached an agreement.
In an interview this week, Zambrano said he does not intend to retire and wants to rejoin the Cubs.
"If the Cubs welcome me, I'll be with the team again," Zambrano told Comcast Sports Net Chicago. "If they decide to do something else, I'll have to play for somebody else. In the bottom of my heart, I will be a Cubbie forever."
Last Saturday, Cubs general manager Jim Hendry called Zambrano's actions "intolerable."
"In dealing with the hierarchy at MLB today, this was really the most stringent penalty that our club could enforce without a release," Hendry said on Saturday.
Hendry said at that time he expected the MLBPA to file a grievance on Zambrano's behalf.
Zambrano is 9-7 with a 4.82 ERA in 24 starts. Four years ago, on Aug. 17, 2007, he signed a five-year, $91.5 million contract extension. He was being paid $17.875 million this year, and has one year remaining at $18 million, with a vesting player option for 2013 of $19.25 million.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.