Michael Barrett had just a bit of trouble with a Carlos Zambrano pitch that broke the wrong way in the top of the 5th inning of the Cubs’ 8-5 loss to Atlanta on Friday. After retrieving the passed ball, Barrett hurled it into left field, allowing Scott Thurman — who’d already taken third — to score. The AP picks it up from there :

Zambrano (5-5) was seen pointing at his head and yelling at the catcher in the dugout before the bottom half, then shoved him. Moments after they left the dugout, a clubhouse attendant told manager Lou Piniella something.

While that was going on, Derrek Lee jumped up and headed up the tunnel, and Piniella and pitching coach Larry Rothschild followed. Zambrano and Barrett did not come out for the sixth.

A seething Lou Piniella suggested that both Zambrano and Barrett might face suspension. For the Cubs starter (5-5, 5.62 ERA), this hasn’t exactly been a terrific contract drive. On the bright side, he seems to harder to take out than A.J. Pierzynski.

The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessey — or at least someone making phone calls on behalf of the CHB, collected some heavyweight quotes on the matter of Alex Rodriguez’ latest violation of Baseball Ettiquette.

“I would say it’s bush league all the way,” former Red Sox manager and big league infielder Joe Morgan said yesterday. “His intent was to make him back off and let the ball drop, which happened. My wife says I’ve done it, which is not true. I remember when Eddie Stanky used to get behind second base, jumping up and down when guys were trying to hit, and they wound up changing the rules and making that illegal.”

Hall of Famer hurler Jim Palmer disagreed.

“It worked, didn’t it?” said the three-time Cy Young winner. “You’re trying to win, aren’t you? The guy’s an easy target, come on. I don’t know what he yelled, but they are underachieving and you do what you’ve got to do. Big deal. It’s just baseball. What are you going to do next, say, ‘I’m sorry, I threw inside. I intimidated you.’ ? There are just certain things you do. It’s survival of the fittest. He yelled. They’re desperate. They’re playing like dogs. They need to do something like that. Maybe that’s going to turn it around for them like Jason Varitek sticking his catcher’s mitt in A-Rod’s mouth.

Carl Yastrzemski said, “It’s a little bit both bush and smart, I guess. The third baseman should know where the shortstop is, and you pretty much know the guy’s voice. But I would not have done anything like that.”

“I’m surprised and I think it’s bush,” said Johnny Pesky. “You don’t do that. If the umpire was on the ball, he’d have probably called him out and kicked the guy out of the ballgame. I never heard of such a thing. I’m surprised at A-Rod. He didn’t strike me as being that kind of player, but for God sakes, he’s done so many bush things this year, I’m a little suspect of him now.”