03/07/11 7:30 PM ET
Cubs prospect McNutt follows Maddux's lead
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Silva takes early struggles in stride
MESA, Ariz. -- After his first spring start, Carlos Silva was so upset, he couldn't talk to his son. On Monday, he was trying to find a reason to smile despite another rough outing.The Cubs right-hander gave up eight runs on 10 hits in 2 1/3 innings against the Angels at HoHoKam Park, and all of the runs came in a nightmare third inning. Silva said he felt good, even if the numbers tell a different story. "[Greg] Maddux was talking to me after I finished and said everything is good and the ball is coming out of my hand good, 'You're just missing a little bit,'" Silva said. "Every time I missed my location, it was a base hit." A special assistant to Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, Maddux was with Silva in his last side session and there on the bench to watch the outing. Silva knows he has to get results this spring and can't afford to just work on his pitches. He doesn't have a spot guaranteed. But in his last outing against the Brewers, he served up a pair of two-run homers in the first, the Cubs made three errors, and he got into a scuffle with Aramis Ramirez in the dugout.
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"To be honest with you guys, I have been worrying," Silva said. "The last time, I didn't talk to my own son. I'm sitting here for a long time today and trying to let it go. ... I'm trying to get better. I have to continue working."Mentally, for me, I'm going to be fine. I feel great. I was telling Maddux, I feel so good and was strong. That inning, look at what happened. When you have that kind of inning, it's like, 'Man, he pitched bad.' That's what people see. But I felt good." Silva also sought support from teammate Carlos Zambrano, sending him a text message after his outing. Big Z's response? "He told me in the text, 'You need to forget everything. Go out there and pitch and do your thing. You know how to do it, you did it before. Why can't you do it again?'" Silva said of the message. "It's true. This game, I didn't think too much and I felt very good going out there today. I'm going to be fine. I just have to keep working." There are two openings in the Cubs' rotation, and the candidates include Silva, Randy Wells, Braden Looper, Todd Wellemeyer, Andrew Cashner, James Russell and Casey Coleman. No decision is expected until the last week of Cactus League play. Last spring, Silva had a difficult first outing against the White Sox, giving up seven runs on seven hits in two innings. Yet, he bounced back and put together an 8-0 start to the regular season. Silva has a little more breathing room than he may think. "I tend to give a guy who has this kind of career and the longevity he's had some space to do that," Cubs manager Mike Quade said on Monday. "It's not his first rodeo. He was fine today, he went about his business great. He worked through a little trouble in the first couple innings and just couldn't make a pitch or two to get out of the third inning. I make nothing out of this other than it's a rough day. He'll be fine." He's trying not to lose sleep over the competition. "I can't think about it," Silva said. "If I think, 'This is going to affect me,' I'll put myself down. They'll make their decision and we'll see what happens. Like Maddux told me today, 'Next game, go out there and have a great game, and next game, great game.' I think that's what I have to put in my mind, and that's it."
Marlon Byrd was thrown out at home trying to score from first on Aramis Ramirez's double in the fourth. The ball went deep into the left corner, which Cubs manager Mike Quade said is known as "Satan's corner." Added Quade: "It's Spring Training for everyone. I think [third-base coach Ivan DeJesus] pulled the trigger a little soon." ... Tyler Colvin is expected to make his next start at first base Thursday. He was charged with his third error this spring in right field on Monday. ... Closer Carlos Marmol is trying to work on his fastball command. "If he gets really good fastball, command-wise, with [his slider], it's game, set, match," Quade said. "Any improvement 'Marm' can make on his fastball command is going to help him, and why don't we say this about everybody? We all talk about breaking stuff, but it boils down to fastball command. I don't care if it's a bunch of these kids trying to make the club or if it's [Ryan Dempster]. The better your fastball command, the better your game is." ... Here's some trivia: Greg Maddux faced 20,421 batters in his career. Just 310 of them saw a 3-0 count. That's roughly one every three starts. Thanks to MLB Trade Rumors for the research. ... Bench coach Pat Listach's dachshund, Henry, is now a regular in the clubhouse. ... The Cubs' wives raised $2,400 and collected 800 pounds of food during their annual food drive Sunday for Paz de Cristo in Mesa. ... The Cubs saluted the Mesa City Council prior to Monday's game for their support in keeping the team's Spring Training facility in Mesa.
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.