Silva not shut down yet, Hendry happy with Zambrano

Silva not shut down yet, Hendry happy with Zambrano

Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010
Updated 10:22 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

ST. LOUIS Carlos Silva hopes to pitch again this season, but doesnt know if that will happen. The Cubs will wait a week before they make a determination.

Silva rejoined the team on Tuesday at Busch Stadium after being diagnosed with right elbow tendinitis the day before at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The plan is for Silva to receive treatment and medication for a week and then see where hes at physically.

By then, there will be only 13 games left in the season, and the Cubs are already looking at a six-man rotation.

Tom Gorzelanny, whos been recovering from a bruised left hand, is available as an emergency long reliever Tuesday and Wednesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals. Otherwise, Gorzelanny is expected to throw a simulated game on Friday and rejoin the rotation next week, likely facing the San Francisco Giants.

Silva, 31, said hes been feeling discomfort for awhile. He took longer to get loose during his last bullpen session and it bothered him while playing catch on Sunday in Milwaukee. That forced him to visit Dr. Stephen Gryzlo in Chicago and the Cubs to scratch him from his scheduled start the next night in St. Louis.

With the Milton Bradley deal, the Cubs bought low on Silva, and then saw immediate returns. He put together a first half that made him a serious All-Star candidate. But a pitcher who was 9-2 with a 2.96 ERA on July 6 has pitched 12 23 innings since then, could finish the season at 10-6 and 4.22.

Shoulder issues limited Silva to only 30 13 innings last season with the Seattle Mariners. And his health has been an ongoing issue. He left Coors Field in an ambulance on Aug. 1 with an abnormally high heart rate that eventually required a surgical procedure.

Silvas done more than the Cubs ever could have reasonably expected. He performed well enough with the Minnesota Twins to earn his current 48 million contract, and showed signs of that pitcher in a Cubs uniform. In 2011, the question will be whether he pitches like he did in the first or second half of this season.

The only thing I have to do is stay positive, Silva said, and keep building and keep working.

Carlos Zambrano has a no-trade clause in his 91.5 million contract, so he will ultimately decide where he pitches the next two seasons. General manager Jim Hendry appeared on a St. Louis radio station and was asked Tuesday if he hopes to see the 29-year-old pitcher in a Cubs uniform in 2011.

He really seems to have gotten himself in a good spot, Hendry said. His last five or six starts have been outstanding. We've had Carlos since he was 16. I know people don't believe this but 90 percent of the time he's really been a pleasure to be around and a quality citizen.

He isn't too old to get it together and be a heck of a pitcher again.

Whoever manages the Cubs next season will of course be expected to go 162-0. And the second-guessing will almost certainly begin before Opening Day, which will be April 1 at Wrigley Field against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Highlights of the 2011 schedule released Tuesday night include: a trip to Fenway Park (May 20-22); a visit from the New York Yankees (June 17-19); and the White Sox interleague series at U.S. Cellular Field (June 20-22) and Wrigley Field (July 1-3).

Mike Quade held Starlin Castro out of Tuesdays lineup as the rookie shortstop deals with a bruised hip.

If I would have asked him to go, the manager said, (then) he would have been in there. (We) want the kid to get better, but we dont want to ask too much.

Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Kyle Hendricks is back, but Cubs will likely have to wait for their next shot at Yu Darvish

Kyle Hendricks is back, but Cubs will likely have to wait for their next shot at Yu Darvish

Within the first several weeks of the Theo Epstein administration, the Cubs finished second in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes, though nowhere close to the $51.7 million the Texas Rangers bid for the exclusive rights to negotiate a six-year, $60 million deal with the Japanese superstar.

The Cubs will probably have to wait a few more months for their next shot at Darvish, who is “unlikely to move” before the July 31 trade deadline, a source monitoring the situation said Monday. Darvish means enough to the franchise’s bottom line as a box-office draw and magnet for corporate sponsors that the Rangers would be reluctant to trade a player with global appeal and potentially jeopardize that relationship heading into free agency this winter.

Beyond the possible impact on re-signing Darvish, that would also mean foreclosing on a season where Texas is only 2.5 games out of an American League wild-card spot, making this final week critical to the buy-or-sell decision.

The Cubs would obviously prefer to stay out of the rental market after shipping two top prospects to the White Sox in the Jose Quintana deal. Quintana’s reasonable contract – almost $31 million between next season and 2020 once two team options are picked up – creates financial flexibility for a free-agent megadeal (Darvish?) or the next big-time international player.

But the cost of doing business with the White Sox probably means the Cubs wouldn’t have the super-elite prospect to anchor a trade for Darvish, anyway. That would be another obstacle in any possible deal for Sonny Gray, with an AL source saying the New York Yankees are going hard after the Oakland A’s right-hander (and have a deeper farm system and a greater sense of urgency after missing on Quintana).

All that means Kyle Hendricks could function as the trade-deadline addition for the rotation, with the Cubs instead trying to shorten games and deepen their bullpen by July 31.

After spending more than six weeks on the disabled list, the Cubs activated Hendricks for the start of this week’s crosstown series, watching him pitch into the fifth inning of Monday’s 3-1 loss to a White Sox team that had lost nine straight games.

[Willson Contreras may be ‘the f------ Energizer Bunny,’ but Cubs still need to get another catcher before trade deadline]

Hendricks is a rhythm/feel pitcher who blossomed from an overlooked prospect in the Texas system into a piece in the buzzer-beater Ryan Dempster deal at the 2012 deadline into last year’s major-league ERA leader.

Hendricks clearly isn’t locked in yet. He gave up eight hits, but minimized the damage against the White Sox, allowing only one run while putting up five strikeouts against zero walks.

“He wasn’t as normal,” manager Joe Maddon said. “The velocity was still down a little bit. There was not a whole lot of difference between his pitches. He was not what you would call ‘on.’ He would be the first one to tell you that. He looked fine delivery-wise, but the ball just wasn’t coming out as normal.”

Hendricks described his fastball command as “terrible,” called his secondary pitches “OK” and ultimately came to this conclusion: “Health-wise, everything felt great, so we’ll take that. Just got to get back (to my routine).”

The biggest takeaway is Hendricks didn’t feel any lingering effects from the right hand tendinitis that was initially classified as a minor injury in early June. Meaning the Cubs (51-47) are just about at full strength and have another week left to upgrade the defending World Series champs.

Are You Smarter than a Cubs/White Sox Fan?

Are You Smarter than a Cubs/White Sox Fan?

The crosstown rivalry doesn't end on the diamond.

Both Cubs and White Sox fans are highly competitive when it comes to trivia, too. 

We found that out when we bounced around Wrigley Field to quiz North and South Siders in a special edition of "Are You Smarter than a Cubs/White Sox Fan?" 

Watch the video above as we pitted fans against eachother for the chance to win a killer shirt.