Monday, March 7, 2011
By Patrick Mooney
MESA, Ariz. With all kinds of thoughts swirling around his head, Carlos Silva reached out to Carlos Zambrano, another Cubs pitcher who has had trouble channeling his emotions.
The Angels had just torched Silva for an eight-run inning on Monday in front of 6,804 fans at HoHoKam Park. The two have known each other since they were prospects playing winter ball in Venezuela and are represented by the same agent.
But for the most part, theyve avoided talking about the parallels between Zambrano confronting Derrek Lee and Silva getting into it with Aramis Ramirez. Heres how Silva recalled the text message from Zambrano reading:
You just need to forget everything. Go out there and pitch and do your thing. You know how to do it. You did it before. Why cant you do it again?
Mike Quade is being patient with Silva, who is owed 11.5 million this season, plus a 2 million buyout of his 2012 option. The manager knows that 3.1 innings isnt much of a sample size and will give Silva some space.
I dont care whoever your friends are, when you have a tough day, (you) call on them for support, Quade said. Who else? A stranger? Who else is going to comfort him other than a good friend?
Z has gone about his business the right way and has been pitching well. I just believe Silva will be OK. I really do.
The Cubs are trying to protect Silva and get him to block out all his doubts and anxieties. Greg Maddux the front-office assistant and future Hall of Famer watched Silvas last side session and encouraged him after Mondays start, saying that the ball looked good coming out of his hand.
Teammates arent nearly as fascinated by the Silva-Ramirez feud as the rest of us.
Good teams have had scuffles in the clubhouse, pitcher Randy Wells said. You just dont read about it. The fact that it happened in the dugout is the only reason you guys know about it. Its not an uncommon thing when youre with somebody for 200 days out of the year. Youre going to have some differences.
Stuff happens behind closed doors and you take care of it in-house. Im sure people wanted to kick my butt before.
Wells laughed at that last line, and really the Cubs have moved on from the incident. They view this as a media-driven story.
Its spring training we have nothing to worry about, Alfonso Soriano said. Were grown men. I think everybody knows what they have to do.
Quade had more pointed words for third-base coach Ivan DeJesus, who waved in Marlon Byrd when Aramis Ramirez doubled into the left-field corner in the fourth inning. The Cubs were trailing the Angels 9-0 at the time and Byrd was thrown out at home plate.
Its spring training for everyone, Quade said after a 14-13 win. Zeus probably pulled the trigger a little bit soon. Ive done that many times myself and in a different scoring situation maybe you take a shot, but we were down.
DeJesus took Quades old job when the Cubs reshuffled their coaching staff after Lou Piniellas retirement late last season.
Ivan hasnt done a lot of this, Quade said. Well sit down and talk and see what he was thinking. (I) can tell him firsthand when I see something. I know the difficult situations. I dont know if he knows our terminology, but thats Satans Corner.
Ivans got a lot of work to do as far as just getting comfortable over there.
PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.