Cubs

Listen up: Zambrano tries to motivate Silva

402273.jpg

Listen up: Zambrano tries to motivate Silva

Monday, March 7, 2011
8:40 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

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.

Satans Corner

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.

If you can't wait for baseball to be back, take a look at the Cubs' spring training schedule

1120_anthony_rizzo.jpg
USA TODAY

If you can't wait for baseball to be back, take a look at the Cubs' spring training schedule

Set your alarm, there are only three more months till baseball is back.

The Cubs announced their spring training schedule Monday, getting folks all amped up for the 34 exhibition games in February and March.

Spring game action gets started Feb. 23 out in Arizona, with the Cubs taking on the Milwaukee Brewers to kick off Cactus League play. The Cubs' first home spring game at Sloan Park in Mesa comes the next day, Feb. 24.

In addition to a 32-game Cactus League slate, the Cubs will take on the Cleveland Indians in a pair of exhibition games in Las Vegas. That 2016 World Series rematch comes March 17 and 18.

And of course, there will be three meetings with the White Sox, as both Chicago teams play their spring schedule out in Arizona. Those "Cactus Crosstown" games will be played Feb. 27 and March 10 in Mesa and March 16 in Glendale.

Here's the full schedule:

What if Jake Arrieta stays in the NL Central and repeatedly haunts the Cubs?

What if Jake Arrieta stays in the NL Central and repeatedly haunts the Cubs?

Jake Arrieta in a Brewers uniform?

That's not a sight Cubs fans would like to see, but the North Siders' I-94 rivals are apparently keen on trying to add Arrieta, the free-agent pitcher who's been one of the National League's top arms for the past several seasons.

The Cubs have their own decision to make on whether or not they're going to pursue re-signing Arrieta, a guy who over the past three seasons has posted a 2.71 ERA and struck out 589 batters, winning 54 games in 94 starts for a team that won the 2016 World Series and has advanced to three consecutive NL Championship Series.

The downside to losing Arrieta is obvious, as the Cubs would lose a huge part of their formidable starting rotation, but there would be an added downside if Arrieta were to remain in the NL Central and repeatedly haunt his former team.

Given Arrieta's track record, adding him would make sense for any team in the majors, but the Brewers in particular could use a front-of-the-line starting pitcher to boost their chances of besting the Cubs for the Central crown. The Brew Crew staged a surprising threat to do just that in 2017, perhaps proving that their rebuilding effort has yielded fruit ahead of schedule.

But there are questions in that rotation, with Jimmy Nelson expected to miss time next season after having shoulder surgery. Chase Anderson was great last season, and Zach Davies was solid, too. Brewers starters posted an ERA of 4.10 on the season, good for fifth in the NL. The four teams ahead of them, including the Cubs, all made the playoffs. Adding an arm as good as Arrieta's could make the difference in jumping past the Cubs in the Central and getting the Crew to the postseason for the first time since 2011.

And it'd be a plus for the Brewers to make it so Arrieta couldn't shut down their hitters anymore. In 15 career starts against the Crew, Arrieta is 8-4 with a 2.74 ERA. However, they'd surely love to have him call Miller Park home. He's never lost there in five starts, boasting a 2.03 ERA with 30 strikeouts.

There's an argument to be made that Arrieta would be able to seek revenge on the Cubs no matter what team he ends up pitching for, be it an NL team facing off against the Cubs in the playoffs or an American League squad meeting the Cubs in the World Series. After all, as Scott Boras put it, signing Arrieta is a ticket to "Playoffville."

But should Arrieta make the short drive to Wisconsin and set up shop in America's Dairyland, turning the Brewers into a legitimate playoff contender and challenger to the Cubs' grip on the NL Central crown? Well, consider the Cubs-Brewers rivalry cranked up to 11.