Tuesday, August 16, 2011

ATLANTA — Carlos Zambrano has left the building.

Whether he returns — and whether he ever pitches in a Cubs uniform again — was a matter of anger, dismay and conjecture after the enigmatic pitcher packed up his belongings in the visiting clubhouse during Friday night’s game and left Turner Field.

By the time the media were ­allowed into the clubhouse, not even the nameplate above his locker remained, and Zambrano was said to have told clubhouse personnel he intends to retire.

‘‘He walked out on 24 guys that are battling their ass off for him,’’ Cubs manager Mike Quade said after the 10-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves that included five home runs off Zambrano and his ejection.

‘‘I don’t know where he’s gone or what he’s doing. I heard he’s talking about retiring. I can’t have a guy walking out on 24 guys, that’s for damn sure.’’

Quade had not had a chance to talk to general manager Jim Hendry by the time he addressed the media.

Hendry, who was not with the team, said late Friday night that he had not talked to Zambrano.

‘‘We will respect his wishes and honor them,’’ Hendry said, ‘‘and move forward.’’

Zambrano’s agent, Barry Praver, didn’t return any messages Friday night.

Zambrano, who has another year at $18 million left on his contract and a no-trade clause he has suggested he might waive, drew no interest from contending teams leading up to last month’s non-waiver trade deadline, according to sources.

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