Silva, Ramirez fight in Cubs dugout

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Silva, Ramirez fight in Cubs dugout

Wednesday, March 2, 2011Posted: 4:25 PM Updated: 8:13 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

PHOENIX - Carlos Silva hopped into a yellow golf cart and rode away toward the parking lot, leaving others to explain what happened.

Silva and Aramis Ramirez had to be separated on Wednesday during a dugout dispute at the end of the first inning at Maryvale Baseball Park. On a sunny, 69-degree afternoon, another Cubs pitcher had a meltdown in a 12-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Silva is a proud, emotional man fighting for a spot in the rotation. He gave up six runs - three earned - during a wild sequence and walked off the mound complaining about his defense. He had allowed two two-run homers, but was also undermined by three errors.

Ramirez is one of the coolest, most detached guys in the Cubs clubhouse. He dropped one ball in shallow left field. Though Silva didn't criticize Ramirez directly, the third baseman said something right back.

Ramirez - who's been a Cub since 2003, longer than almost anyone else on the team - called it a "misunderstanding" and said he talked it out with Silva, that it's all good.

"I never had that problem in my life," Ramirez said. "Even in Little League I never got involved with a teammate like that. (But) it's in the past and we move on."

Silva has said that he thinks he deserves one of the two open spots in the rotation, but he was still in a fragile position. Silva, who was acquired from Seattle when the Cubs unloaded Milton Bradley, pitched like an All-Star during the first half of last season.

But Silva, who will turn 32 in April, underwent a cardiac procedure and dealt with elbow issues that limited him to only 5.1 innings during the final two months.

"You take the good with the bad," catcher Koyie Hill said. "It's a high-pressure job. Guys are going out there for a job. That's their livelihood. They want to be good. They put a lot of pressure on themselves. So stuff like that can happen. I don't think it's going to be a problem."

Silva was pulled after one inning, though manager Mike Quade said the right-hander had reached his pitch count, close to 40. He walked to a side field with a Cubs strength coach to finish his conditioning. As a group of reporters staked out the clubhouse, he refused to comment on the incident.

"We don't have to fight," outfielder Alfonso Soriano said. "We have a lot of pressure in Chicago with the fans, with the media. We don't need that."

The Cubs were embarrassed by a similar incident last season, when Carlos Zambrano confronted Derrek Lee over a defensive breakdown. Zambrano was suspended and forced to attend anger-management counseling, though Quade and Ramirez tried to distance themselves from that comparison.

Does Silva have to apologize to the team, like Zambrano did last year?

"You got to ask him that," Ramirez said. "I don't know what he's got on his mind. I can speak only about myself. I can't answer for Silva."

Silva is owed 11.5 million in the last year of his contract, which contains a 2 million buyout for 2012.

Quade said that Silva will not face any disciplinary action from him, though that doesn't mean the issue is completely resolved. General manager Jim Hendry did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Quade doesn't want to pin this all on Silva, because the Cubs have already committed 14 errors this spring.

"You got two pissed-off people," Quade said. "It was a brutal first inning, plenty of blame to go around and people get frustrated. Maybe that's what we freaking need."

WATCH: Quade's reaction to the incident

Ramirez does not seem like the type to hold a grudge. He also kind of smiled and said, "I'm not a troublemaker."

By the end, as the crowd of 3,548 was thinning out, the public-address announcer told everyone over the speakers, "Carlos Silva takes the loss."

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

Jon Lester explains absence from Cubs' White House trip: 'Absolutely nothing political'

Jon Lester explains absence from Cubs' White House trip: 'Absolutely nothing political'

Jon Lester didn't make any sort of statement by missing Monday's White House trip with his Cubs teammates. But at a polarizing moment in a divided country, a high-profile player on a World Series team felt the need to respond on social media and explain his absence from the championship ceremony. 

President Barack Obama name-checked Lester during his East Room speech – both for his spectacular pitching performance and beat-cancer charitable initiatives – as the Cubs continued their victory tour off the franchise's first World Series title since Theodore Roosevelt lived in the White House.

Lester stood behind Obama when the 2013 Boston Red Sox were honored on the South Lawn. During that 2014 ceremony, Lester stood next to John Lackey, another Cub who missed this Washington trip. Lester also toured George W. Bush's White House with Boston's 2007 championship team.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day – and with the specter of Donald Trump's inauguration looming – Obama used his administration's final official White House event to draw a direct line between him and Jackie Robinson and highlight the connective power of sports.

"The best part was the president talking about how sports brings people together," All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo said, "how no matter what's going on in this country and the world, three or four hours of any one particular game can just rally so many people together." 

This team couldn't have created so much joy for generations of fans without Lester, who signed a $155 million contract with the last-place Cubs after the 2014 season, a transformational moment during the long rebuild that led to the White House trip that Obama never thought would happen.

"It was a thrill and an honor for all of us," team president Theo Epstein said. "It means so much more with his roots in Chicago and his final days in office. It couldn't have worked out any better. It's something we'll all remember for our whole lives."

The time Addison Russell froze up after getting a text from Eddie George

The time Addison Russell froze up after getting a text from Eddie George

Plenty of Cubs fans surely were star-struck to meet Addison Russell at Cubs Convention last weekend. But the 22-year-old All-Star shortstop has a shortlist of people he would be amazed to meet, too. 

Russell reveres President Barack Obama, on Friday the outgoing Commander-in-Chief's work in the community when talking about getting to visit the White House. So on Monday, Russell got to check off meeting one of the people on his list. "There's probably about three people that I would be star-struck by, and (Obama's) one of them," Russell said. 

One of those three spots is "open," Russell said. The other member of that list is former Ohio State and Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George. 

Russell wears his No. 27 because of George, who wore that number during his career in which he made four Pro Bowls and rushed for over 10,000 yards and 78 touchdowns. Prior to the 2016 season, George sent Russell and autographed Titans helmet inscribed with good luck message.

After the season, Russell said George texted him seeing if the newly-crowned champion had time to chill. Few things rattled Russell last year — he became the youngest player to hit a grand slam in the World Series when he blasted one in Game 6 against the Cleveland Indians last November — but getting a text from George did. "I couldn't text back," Russell said. "It was nuts. I waited four days because I was thinking of what back to say."

Even the most famous athletes still get star-struck. Russell's been lucky enough in the last few months to meet and hear from two of the people who bring out that sense of awe in him. "Just to come in contact with people like that, it just makes me smile," Russell said. "It definitely gets me in the mood of getting better, and that's the goal this year, is getting better."