03/04/11 12:58 PM ET
Silva opens up about Cubs' dugout scuffle
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
"I know my personality and I know the way I am," Silva said Friday in the Cubs' clubhouse at HoHoKam Park, the first time he's talked about the scuffle. "I told [my wife] Maria -- the only problem I had before was arguing with umpires. I know I'm hard, I know I'm difficult, and I say a lot of things, but I'm not a guy who comes here to fight or have that relationship with my teammates."
Silva made his first spring start Wednesday against the Brewers, and gave up a pair of two-run homers in the first. The Cubs also made three errors that inning, including one by Ramirez.
"It was a very hard inning, not only for my team or my coaches, but for me," Silva said. "I gave up those two homers and I came to the dugout and tried to take it easy and relax and let it go, and the only thing I said was, 'We need to start making plays here.' [Ramirez] took it personally.
"I know it was a mistake, it was my fault," Silva said. "I shouldn't say anything. He took it personally and we argued in the dugout. Everything stayed there."
The two scuffled briefly in the dugout and were separated. Silva did not return for a second inning and left that day without commenting.
"If I talk to [reporters on Thursday] or the day before, I don't know what I'm going to say," Silva said.
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"To be honest, for me, it's a little bit harder because for [the media], who's going to be the third baseman? It's him," Silva said, comparing his situation with Ramirez's. "Who's going to be the fifth starter? We don't know yet. I'm trying to do something here. I'm trying to fight for my spot."
Silva is coming off his best first half, during which he went 8-0 with a 2.93 ERA with the Cubs. But he struggled with injuries in the second half, and finished 10-6 with a 4.22 ERA for the season.
"I don't feel like I lost my spot," Silva said. "I got hurt and I lost the whole second half. Right now, I'm trying to do whatever I have to do. I have to prove to them and show them. That's what I'm trying to do.
"There's no excuses," he said. "The first game I pitched was absolutely brutal, and it's like I told my wife -- I don't feel that was me pitching that day. I was putting so much on me. I was thinking, 'I have to do good and show them I have to pitch,' and too much was going on in my mind.
"What happened in that game, my comment, and all of that, 'boom,' big explosion," he said. "That's why I say it was all my fault. I don't like to have problems with anyone, my teammates. I think that's the worst thing that can happen. That's the last thing I want."
Cubs manager Mike Quade met with the players before Thursday's game to address the sloppy defensive play. The team made five errors on Wednesday against the Brewers and has committed 15 in five games.
"I don't know [Quade] very well," Silva said, "but the way he talked, the way he acted was very professional, very clear, very mature. ... [Thursday], the way he talked, I'm sure everybody felt good about it. I think he used the right words.
"He was very straight to Ramirez and me, and he said we need to let whatever happened be behind," Silva said. "It's too early to start problems and have problems, especially the way we played last year. We want to have a great team and there's a lot of things we can do."
Silva also recognizes his status on the team as one of the veterans.
"We are grown men," he said. "We should be examples on this team."
Silva doesn't see himself as the bad guy in the incident.
"My teammates know me," he said. "They know the way I act. One thing I always say is everybody deserves respect and everybody should get respect. It doesn't matter if you make an error. If you make an error, you have to feel you made an error. [Ramirez is] going to be the third baseman, I'm fighting for my spot. I'm dying there to have a good outing. I know I gave up two homers and everything went bad that day.
"You respect me, I'll respect you, and everything is going to be fine. Everybody has a job here and everybody has to fight for their job."
Cubs pitching coach Mark Riggins had a long talk with Silva on Thursday. The right-hander's next scheduled start is Monday against the Angels at HoHoKam Park.
"I told my pitching coach I felt like a young guy the last time I pitched, because I tried to overthrow," Silva said. "I wasn't focused on where I wanted to throw the ball, what pitches I made. I was just firing the ball. I don't know what I was trying to do. That doesn't mean I'll pitch great Monday, but I have to be myself and do what I have to do. I'm not a strikeout pitcher. I depend on my sinker and command."
Did he feel the skirmish hurt his chances with the team?
"No, I hope not," Silva said. "I'm not going to relax and take it easy. I'm still working and learning and trying to get better. I just have to go out there and try to do my best."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.