Silva points finger at himself: 'It's all my fault'

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Silva points finger at himself: 'It's all my fault'

Friday, March 4, 2011
Posted: 12:48 p.m. Updated: 6:03 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. Carlos Silva will tell you exactly whats on his mind. Thats why he had to be separated from Aramis Ramirez, and why he waited almost 48 hours to tell his side of the story.

By Friday morning, Silva had cooled down enough to explain that the pressure to compete for his place in the Cubs rotation had been weighing on him. A pitcher who will turn 32 next month felt like a rookie all over again.

Silva relies on his sinker and his command. In the bullpen before his first start on Wednesday, he was missing his spots and overthrowing the ball. The results, as he said, were absolutely brutal.

Silva stepped down into the dugout after a six-run first inning and said something like: We need to start making plays here. Ramirez, who committed one of the three errors during that sequence, took it personally. All you saw was a blur of blue jerseys trying to break it up.

I have to prove (it) to them, Silva said. I was thinking: (I) got to show them I can pitch. (There was) too much going on in my mind.

Its like: Boom! Its a big explosion. Thats why I say it was all my fault.

Silva, who indicated that he apologized to Ramirez, said that he wasnt even aware of the team-wide defensive issues this spring. It has been a narrow focus since he showed up at Cubs Convention in January, when reporters started asking him about the openings in the rotation.

Silva didnt think that he should lose his job to the heart issue and elbow injury that limited him to 5.1 innings across the final two months of last season. He looked back on his start 8-0 with a 2.93 ERA and felt he already deserved it.

For now, this episode wont be held against him.

I thought it was over the day after it happened, manager Mike Quade said. Nothing just goes away in the blink of an eye because Q says it (does). But everybody takes a day. Look, I get furious. And if I would address things immediately a lot of times it would not be good. So why should I think players would be any different? You take a step back. You go home, you have dinner, you relax and you come in the next day.

Clearly, Silva has more at stake this month than Ramirez. He does not have the luxury of just getting in shape. He also doesnt believe that this incident will negatively impact his chances of rejoining the rotation.

I dont feel like Im the bad guy, Silva said. Hes going to be the third baseman. Im fighting for my spot. Im dying there to have a good outing.

In a sense Silva didnt really share in the late-season surge that helped Quade keep his job and made the Cubs feel so much better heading into winter. Silva admitted that he doesnt really know Quade all that well, but praised the managers communication skills.

The way he talks, the way he acts hes very professional, very clear, very mature, Silva said. He tried to keep us together (and) thats one thing we really need.

Silva is tight with Carlos Zambrano, but out of respect the two pitchers havent discussed Wednesdays incident. Silva gave Zambrano some space when he got into it with Derrek Lee and went into anger-management counseling. He does not want to be alienated from teammates who already consider the matter closed.

Thats the worst feeling you can have, Silva said. You spend more time with these guys than your own family. Thats the last thing I want. I never had problems with my teammates (before).

I know Im hard. I know Im difficult. I know Im a strong (personality). I say a lot of things, but Im not a guy that comes here to fight or to argue.

Silva can be remarkably candid. He is charming and engaging with the press when he decides he wants to be. He just got a lot off his big chest.

That doesnt mean Im going to pitch great on Monday, he said, but I got to be myself.

PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Cubs, White Sox react to tragic deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

Cubs, White Sox react to tragic deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

The sports world woke up to some tragic news on Sunday morning.

Former major leaguer Andy Marte and Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura were both killed in separate car accidents in the Dominican Republic within an hour of each other, according to multiple reports. A Royals representative confirmed the death of 25-year-old Ventura.

The Cubs and White Sox took to Twitter to give their condolences:

Ventura was a member of the Royals from 2013-16 and won a World Series title in 2015 with Ben Zobrist and Wade Davis, who the Cubs acquired this offseason for Jorge Soler. Ventura also played with White Sox pitcher James Shields in 2013-14.

Marte, 33, played a majority of his seven-year career with the Cleveland Indians. He was teammates with Todd Hollandsworth (Atlanta 2005), Kerry Wood (Cleveland 2009-10), and Miguel Montero (Arizona 2014).

Why Cubs are excited for pitching prospect Dylan Cease: He's 'throwing lightning bolts'

Why Cubs are excited for pitching prospect Dylan Cease: He's 'throwing lightning bolts'

Theo Epstein's front office is heading into Year 6 with the Cubs and they're finally talking about a pitcher as one of the organization's most exciting prospects.

That's how senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod framed his Dylan Cease report to fans at the Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Grand Chicago last weekend.

It was a tongue-in-cheek summation from McLeod after he spent the previous few minutes fawning over Cease, the Cubs' sixth round pick in 2014.

Of course, McLeod and the Cubs can poke fun at the lack of impact pitching the farm system has developed when the homegrown position players like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber just helped lead the franchise to its first World Series championship in over a century.

Cease, however, has been one of the more intriguing Cubs prospects for years — a right-handed pitcher capable of touching 101 mph on the radar gun.

"This guy is throwing lightning bolts out of his arm," McLeod said. "It's really exciting. But we also understaned he's only in Low-A this year, so he's far away."

The Cubs expect Cease to pitch for Class-A South Bend in 2017 after spending last season pitching for short-season Eugene and the 2015 campaign working in the rookie league in Arizona.

Cease — who just turned 21 in late December — put up some impressive numbers at both stops in the Cubs system, posting a 2.36 ERA and 1.165 WHIP to go along with a whopping 91 strikeouts in 68.2 innings. He also only surrendered one homer and walked more batters (41) than reached via a basehit (39).

Control is obviously an issue for Cease, but the upside is evident.

"He's so far away," McLeod said. "He's gonna go into 2017 as a starter. As with a lot of young guys, it's gonna come down to command and depend on that third pitch and the ability to land them for strikes.

"It's a special arm. He can pitch 95-100 mph with a big power curveball. He's unlike anyone else we have in our system since we've been here in terms of pure stuff."

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One fan compared Cease to Carl Edwards Jr. in terms of their lanky build and high velocity, setting McLeod up for a layup joke.

"Well, Dylan is much stronger physically than CJ is...as is everybody in this room," McLeod said as the ballroom filled with laugher. "Don't tell [CJ] I said that. 

"They have different body types, obviously. Carl is long and lanky and Dylan has probably put on 20 pounds since we drafted him, so he's more like 6-foot-2, 190."

By comparison, Edwards — who goes by "The String Bean Slinger" for his slight build — is listed at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds.

Edwards was drafted in the 48th round in 2011 and spent his whole minor-league career as a starting pitcher until the Cubs converted him to a reliever in 2015.

Cease may eventually go down the same path, but the Cubs are going to give him every opportunity to make it as a starter first.

Cease was one of the top pitchers available in the 2014 draft, but his stock took a hit when he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow while at Milton High School in Georgia.

That scared off a lot of teams — as did the potential signability issues with college offers looming — but the Cubs took a chance and have now watched Cease soar to a top prospect in the system (No. 4 by Baseball America; No. 7 by FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus) despite the cautious approach and lack of innings in professional ball.

"We have to thank Kyle Schwarber, actually, as one of the main reasons we got to sign Dylan Cease," McLeod said. "Because we took Kyle fourth overall, we were able to save money on the selection with him, which gave us the resources to go get Dylan Cease.

"He was a Top 10 pick in the draft — a high school arm that got hurt, fell down to the fifth round and he had a commitment to Vanderbilt, I think it was, and we were able to use the money we saved from Kyle.

"Just another reason to love Kyle Schwarber."