Speaking during a phone interview on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Zambrano issued his first comments three days after being ejected from his start after throwing at Chipper Jones twice in a particularly ugly road outing against the Atlanta Braves.
"I want to keep pitching for the Cubs," Zambrano said. "[It was a] moment of frustration Friday night. I feel so bad that I want to retire. I don't want to be making $18 million and be pitching like crap."
After the game, Zambrano, known for his fiery and sometimes gruff demeanor, cleaned out his locker and apparently told teammates that he was retiring.
"I didn't say nothing to the paper or anybody that I want to retire," Zambrano said during Monday's interview. "I didn't want to talk to the media. Sometimes I do that. I went home yes. I made one mistake, I went to the hotel in the bottom of the 9th inning when we were hitting, that was the mistake I made."
Zambrano got blasted to the tune of eight runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings. He also gave up a career-high five homers in a 10-4 loss.
"It was sad what happened. Obviously you know like always I'm on the bad side of this," Zambrano said during his interview. "Nobody knows how I feel right now. How difficult it is. I understand I'm out of baseball now."
On Saturday, the Cubs put Zambrano on the disqualified list without pay, casting further uncertainty on the enigmatic starter's future with the team. Zambrano will remain on the list for 30 days and is not permitted to have any contact with the team. The players' union could take action to appeal the decision.
"If the Cubs welcome me I'll be on the team again, if they don't basically they choose to do something else, I have to play for somebody else," Zambrano said during Monday's interview. "But from the bottom of my heart I would be a Cubbie forever. And I would thank God, thank the Cubs, thank everybody that support me through my career with the Cubs organization and just move on."
"I never played with him. He said just keep it up and he was giving me his support," Zambrano said of Giambi.
Zambrano, who is 9-7 this season with a 4.82 earned run average in 24 starts, said he was never trying to throw at Jones.
"The two pitches I threw were cutters. I don't want to hit nobody with cutters or sliders or changeups," he said during Monday's interview. "Who wants to hit people with change up or cutters? People, pitchers want to hit somebody, they do it with a fastball. The hardest they can."