Big Z's future with Cubs remains uncertain

Big Z's future with Cubs remains uncertain

CHICAGO -- One of the items on the next Cubs general manager's to-do list is to figure out what to do with Carlos Zambrano. The right-hander was placed on the disqualified list after his early exit Aug. 12 in Atlanta. However, he's still under contract for next season.

Could Zambrano return?

"I'm not calling the shots," Cubs manager Mike Quade said Wednesday. "I never say never to anything, and I think [Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts] is on record with what he said. That's out of my hands and the least of my worries. We need to finish strong and see what happens this winter."

Ricketts has said he didn't think Zambrano could return after walking out on the team. Zambrano served up five home runs to the Braves in that game, then was ejected because the umpire felt he was trying to intentionally hit Chipper Jones with a pitch. Zambrano packed his gear and told teammates he was retiring.

Zambrano finished with a 9-7 record and a 4.82 ERA in 24 starts. Did Quade want the right-hander back next year?

"I don't know," Quade said. "That's a tough question for me to answer. I'd like his arm back if he fit into the mix. It would be tough for him to come back, for me. If he did, then you deal with it. It would be tough."