Zambrano a different pitcher in return to Wrigley

Zambrano a different pitcher in return to Wrigley

Zambrano a different pitcher in return to Wrigley
CHICAGO -- Carlos Zambrano is no longer the same hotheaded pitcher the Cubs traded to Miami in the offseason.

In his return to Wrigley Field on Tuesday, Zambrano said Cubs fans deserve an apology for any inconvenience he caused them toward the tail end of his 11-year stint in Chicago, and he credits his relationship with God as pointing him back in the right direction.

At one point with the Cubs, the 31-year-old pitcher debated retirement.

"Maybe I don't know my future, but God knows it," Zambrano said. "He wants me to still play, so I will play. I'm looking forward to continuing in the City of Miami."

Zambrano said his relationship with former Cubs teammates and fans isn't strained, despite the outbursts that occurred throughout his career.

Now, Zambrano is receiving praise as a teammate from manager Ozzie Guillen and pitcher Mark Buehrle, both of whom also made their returns to Chicago.

Buehrle described Zambrano as one of the best teammates he's ever played with.

"He's been awesome," Buehrle said. "He's funny in the dugout, plane rides, in the clubhouse. He hasn't had one, I'll say, rant or one time where it looks like he's going to blow up."

Zambrano said he's moved past his time with the Cubs, and looks back at it with positive memories. He said he can still rub people the wrong way, because he speaks his mind and goes straight to the source when he sees something he doesn't like.

But even through the rough patches of a 5-7 record this year, he hasn't reacted unfavorably.

"A couple of guys were looking around, like, 'Is this going to be the time he beats the [heck] out of something?" Buehrle said. "But he's come into the clubhouse laughing, just enjoying himself. I don't know what's changed or if he's just always been like this, but he's been outstanding."