Silva has less to worry about with Cubs
Righty exits early with tight quad, but expects to be fine
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Carlos Silva had to come out of Sunday's game against the Reds after two innings because of a tight right quad, but it doesn't matter. His mother arrives Monday.
Silva was lifted more as a precaution. He retired the first five batters he faced, then served up a solo homer to Laynce Nix in the Reds' second. The right-hander threw three straight balls and pitching coach Larry Rothschild went to the mound. Silva stayed in for two more batters, then was lifted and threw 45 more pitches in the bullpen.
"I don't think it's going to be bad," Silva said of the discomfort, which he said felt more like a cramp. "Let's see how I feel [Monday]."
The right-hander will be all smiles when he greets his mother, Zulay, at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. She finally got a visa after being denied three years in a row. The last time she was in the U.S. was 2007. He was pitching for Minnesota that season and went 13-14.
"After that, I had brutal years," Silva said. "Now, she got the visa back. Good stuff is going to happen."
Silva isn't embarrassed to admit he's a momma's boy.
"I'm going to be 31 years old in April," he said, "but it's hard for me to be away from my [mother]. To be honest, when it's been time to come to Spring Training the last couple years and I knew she didn't have a visa, it's been brutal for her and for me. It's like the end of the world for her. Finally, she's coming."
Somehow, Zulay is able to help her son handle the ups and downs of the game, although he says they don't always agree.
"Nothing is impossible for her," Silva said. "I fight with my mother a lot -- we argue a lot. Maybe it's because she's like my best friend. When I want to say something, I don't say it to my wife, I say it to my Ma. Sometimes she says, 'It's OK. God has everything under control.' I'll say, 'Man, it doesn't look like it.' I'm very excited to see her tomorrow."
And she'll be able to help ease any pain Silva may have.
"In her suitcase, she'll have cream to massage my arm, different things to massage my feet," Silva said.
She'll also have ingredients for arepas, which are a traditional Venezuelan food. Mothers know what their sons want.
"It'll be a big difference," Silva said. "Everything's perfect."
That's how Silva has felt since joining the Cubs this spring. The right-hander has the same agent as Carlos Zambrano, and Silva has told both his rep, Barry Praver, and Big Z about how comfortable he feels with the Cubs. If Silva can regain his old form, he could provide a big lift.
2010 Spring Training - Chicago Cubs
News & Features
- Cubs' spring slate includes two games in Vegas
- Rizzo, Jackson headline system on the rise
- Towering homer from Castro leads Cubs
- Cubs ride five-run sixth to victory
- Cubs Beat: April 2
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
"I'll tell you what, he can pitch," Zambrano said of Silva. "I don't know what's been going on but the last two seasons, it looks like he's been distracted or doing something wrong. We have Larry [Rothschild] here and he's one of the best pitching coaches, for me, in the business, and hopefully we can help [Silva]."
Apparently, what was going on, Silva said, was the Mariners were more concerned with his physique than his pitching.
"To be honest, Seattle was worried more about my weight," Silva said. "I've always been a big guy, but I work hard. Seattle was always putting me on the scale and it was driving me crazy. I was like, 'Man, there are other things to do here.' I said, 'Look at CC Sabathia.'"
Zambrano has heard his share of comments regarding his physique.
"Bartolo Colon used to be big and he won a Cy Young [Award]," Zambrano said. "There's nothing wrong with being big. It's about performing good. Look, when you pitch bad and you're overweight, they criticize you. if you pitch good and you're overweight, they don't say anything. It's about pitching and doing a good job."
The Cubs have focused on what Silva can do on the mound. Rothschild looked at videos of Silva's delivery while with the Twins and now has him pushing more with his back leg. As a result, Silva's been staying on top of the ball more and being more aggressive. It's been working. And for Silva, Rothschild isn't the only one who has had an impact.
"It's amazing that when you fix one little thing, you can come back," Silva said. "This Spring Training for me is very special. To have Greg Maddux around, he's my guy. I have his jersey in my house. I've been talking to him a lot, too. I was asking him the other day, 'How can I throw a backdoor sinker to a lefty?' It's unbelievable -- you ask him something and the way he answers is, wow."
During Silva's last bullpen session, he mentioned to Maddux that he felt good in the game but had left some pitches up.
"[Maddux] said, 'The only thing you have to do is work to keep the pitches down,'" Silva said, laughing. "That's it. It's very simple."
Zambrano has known Silva since the two were teens pitching in the Venezuelan Winter Leagues.
"It's good because you see a guy like that and he's got good pitches and a good attitude on the mound," Zambrano said. "He can throw strikes. Maybe he threw too many strikes in Seattle. Hopefully, he can come back and get hot this year."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.