Cubs

Silva not shut down yet, Hendry happy with Zambrano

Silva not shut down yet, Hendry happy with Zambrano

Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010
Updated 10:22 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

ST. LOUIS Carlos Silva hopes to pitch again this season, but doesnt know if that will happen. The Cubs will wait a week before they make a determination.

Silva rejoined the team on Tuesday at Busch Stadium after being diagnosed with right elbow tendinitis the day before at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The plan is for Silva to receive treatment and medication for a week and then see where hes at physically.

By then, there will be only 13 games left in the season, and the Cubs are already looking at a six-man rotation.

Tom Gorzelanny, whos been recovering from a bruised left hand, is available as an emergency long reliever Tuesday and Wednesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals. Otherwise, Gorzelanny is expected to throw a simulated game on Friday and rejoin the rotation next week, likely facing the San Francisco Giants.

Silva, 31, said hes been feeling discomfort for awhile. He took longer to get loose during his last bullpen session and it bothered him while playing catch on Sunday in Milwaukee. That forced him to visit Dr. Stephen Gryzlo in Chicago and the Cubs to scratch him from his scheduled start the next night in St. Louis.

With the Milton Bradley deal, the Cubs bought low on Silva, and then saw immediate returns. He put together a first half that made him a serious All-Star candidate. But a pitcher who was 9-2 with a 2.96 ERA on July 6 has pitched 12 23 innings since then, could finish the season at 10-6 and 4.22.

Shoulder issues limited Silva to only 30 13 innings last season with the Seattle Mariners. And his health has been an ongoing issue. He left Coors Field in an ambulance on Aug. 1 with an abnormally high heart rate that eventually required a surgical procedure.

Silvas done more than the Cubs ever could have reasonably expected. He performed well enough with the Minnesota Twins to earn his current 48 million contract, and showed signs of that pitcher in a Cubs uniform. In 2011, the question will be whether he pitches like he did in the first or second half of this season.

The only thing I have to do is stay positive, Silva said, and keep building and keep working.

Carlos Zambrano has a no-trade clause in his 91.5 million contract, so he will ultimately decide where he pitches the next two seasons. General manager Jim Hendry appeared on a St. Louis radio station and was asked Tuesday if he hopes to see the 29-year-old pitcher in a Cubs uniform in 2011.

He really seems to have gotten himself in a good spot, Hendry said. His last five or six starts have been outstanding. We've had Carlos since he was 16. I know people don't believe this but 90 percent of the time he's really been a pleasure to be around and a quality citizen.

He isn't too old to get it together and be a heck of a pitcher again.

Whoever manages the Cubs next season will of course be expected to go 162-0. And the second-guessing will almost certainly begin before Opening Day, which will be April 1 at Wrigley Field against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Highlights of the 2011 schedule released Tuesday night include: a trip to Fenway Park (May 20-22); a visit from the New York Yankees (June 17-19); and the White Sox interleague series at U.S. Cellular Field (June 20-22) and Wrigley Field (July 1-3).

Mike Quade held Starlin Castro out of Tuesdays lineup as the rookie shortstop deals with a bruised hip.

If I would have asked him to go, the manager said, (then) he would have been in there. (We) want the kid to get better, but we dont want to ask too much.

Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

The Cubs are so good on defense, they even elicited an emotional reaction from Kyle Hendricks

The Cubs are so good on defense, they even elicited an emotional reaction from Kyle Hendricks

Kyle Hendricks never shows emotion on the mound.

Never.

That's what made his simple gesture — mouthing the word "wow" — during Thursday night's 1-0 win over the Brewers so intriguing.

Albert Almora Jr. had just made a nice running catch on the warning track in dead center in the top of the sixth inning, yet another highlight-reel play from the young outfielder.

Hendricks thought it was an extra-base hit for Brewers leadoff hitter Lorenzo Cain, but Almora turned it into Out No. 2 in the inning.

"I see the ball hit, I'm just hoping to keep it to a double at that point," Hendricks said. "And then when he reaches his glove up and catches it, yeah, it's an instant reaction. 

"You're not expecting that at all. I think I mouthed that over to [Tommy] La Stella at third base; he said the same thing. It was a hell of a catch. That's what he's been doing lately. It's fun to watch him out there."

Hendricks pitches so devoid of any emotion, he's even poked fun at himself by using Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" as his walk-up song.

His Cubs teammates — including Kyle Schwarber Thursday night — describe Hendricks as pitching with "no pulse out there." If you just watched his reactions and body language, you wouldn't know if he's throwing a no-hitter or getting shelled.

Hendricks also works quickly, always keeping his defense on his toes. He struck out only 5 batters in 7 shutout innings Thursday, so he needed to rely on his defense a bunch.

It wasn't just Almora that stepped up behind Hendricks. Javy Baez made a spectacular leaping grab and also turned a lightning-quick double play to get the Cubs out of a jam. And Anthony Rizzo did his usual work with a couple of nice plays the night after committing his first error in more than a calendar year (a Cubs record). 

Schwarber — who provided the only offense of the game with a lined shot into the Budweiser patio in right field — loves standing in left field and watching his teammates play defense.

"Everybody's talking about Almora," Schwarber said. "I saw that in High-A, the way that he goes after balls and he's able to get there. 

"It's just a lot of fun to watch him go out there and make those catches. And obviously Javy out there, too, just Javy being Javy."

The Cubs don't appear to be on a trajectory toward following in the footsteps of the 2016 team that played defense at a historic level, but they also proved in the series opener with the Brewers that they can still win with pitching and defense.

With the starting rotation looking more like themselves and the weather conditions getting back to normal, the defense can once again settle in as a strength of this team.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 6th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 6th homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa once again terrorized the Padres for his sixth homer of 1998, coming as his last blast in the month of April.

Slammin' Sammy went deep in the first inning, a two-run shot off San Diego starter Joey Hamilton for 434 feet, his longest shot of the campaign to date. It staked the Cubs to an early lead they did not relinquish in a 3-1 victory.

Six down, 60 to go.

It's crazy to see how slow of a start Sosa got to a record-setting season, but I guess 20 homers in one month will get you back on track pretty quickly.

Fun fact: Kevin Tapani shut down a Padres lineup that included Tony Gwynn, Steve Finley, Ken Caminiti and Greg Vaughn, holding San Diego to just one run in 8 innings. Rod Beck picked up his 8th save on the year.

Fun fact 2: The game took just over two hours (2:06) to complete, as both starting pitchers worked quickly and efficiently and each team made just one pitching change apiece.