Saturday, April 9, 2011Posted: 7:55 p.m. Updated: 10:50 p.m.
By Patrick Mooney
MILWAUKEE Casey Coleman shipped all his stuff to Iowa, but he never made it to Des Moines. He flew from Arizona to Texas and the beginning of what he thought would be his Triple-A season.
Things havent gone according to plan with the Cubs rotation, except for this: Coleman was always viewed as the ideal insurance policy, a low-maintenance pitcher who isnt afraid of the bright lights and feels like he belongs here.
Its just that no one thought the 23-year-old right-hander would be recalled this quick. Either way, Coleman will be facing Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, instead of the Round Rock Express.
If Carlos Silva hadnt ripped the entire Cubs organization, he might have been there on Saturday, standing in front of his locker in the Miller Park clubhouse and saying something ridiculous.
If Silvas going to prove the Cubs wrong, it will reportedly start on a minor-league deal with the New York Yankees.
Silva trusted Larry Rothschild, the pitching coach who left Chicago to take the same job in New York. The Yankees have been taking on all kinds of projects Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Mark Prior and, now, Silva.
But with Randy Wells (forearm) and Andrew Cashner (rotator cuff) on the disabled list, Silva almost certainly would have received another chance by next week. That is, if he had accepted a Triple-A assignment and hadnt dared the Cubs to release and pay him close to 11.5 million to go away.
Instead this is an opportunity for Coleman, who certainly understands the business. Hes a third-generation big-league pitcher and his fathers a pitching coach in the Detroit Tigers system.
The Cubs love his makeup and poise and Coleman rewarded their faith by going 4-2 with a 3.33 ERA in eight starts late last season.
(That) made all the difference in the world for me, Coleman said. I was much more comfortable in spring training.
The Cubs dont know when Wells and Cashner will be healthy enough to rejoin the rotation, and at this point they dont have many viable options beyond Coleman. So this doesnt feel like an audition, though Coleman isnt taking anything for granted.
You never know, Coleman said. If you had asked me how soon I would have been up here, I never would have imagined it this quick. So you just got to take it day-by-day, start-by-start and help this team win games and hopefully it lasts a lot longer than you think.
Coleman knows thats how Wells got his foot in the door. Wells was supposed to have a temp job when he got called up in May 2009, but wound up making 59 starts from there through the end of last season.
Coleman is 6-foot and weighs 185 pounds. He has only 57 innings on his major-league resume. But he inspires a lot of confidence in the clubhouse.
He won his first game in the majors on Aug. 23 last year in Washington. That was also Mike Quades first game as a big-league manager. Quade kept a few pieces of memorabilia from that night, and Colemans name is all over it.
Coleman already made a lasting impression. Now its time to unpack and settle in for what he hopes will be a long-term assignment.
It was tough to send him out because he did such a good job for us last year, Quade said. But we sent him out for exactly this reason. (Hes) the perfect fit.
Starlin Castros view was partially blocked when Carlos Gomez stole second in the eighth inning of Saturdays 6-0 loss. The ball grazed his glove and hit Castro right in the jaw. The shortstop was shaken up but says hell be ready to play on Sunday. Jeff Samardzija walked four batters on Saturday night, bringing his total to eight in three innings this season. The Cubs havent stolen a base through the seasons first eight games, the first time thats happened since 1964.
PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.