Cubs

Silva, Ramirez fight in Cubs dugout

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Silva, Ramirez fight in Cubs dugout

Wednesday, March 2, 2011Posted: 4:25 PM Updated: 8:13 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

PHOENIX - Carlos Silva hopped into a yellow golf cart and rode away toward the parking lot, leaving others to explain what happened.

Silva and Aramis Ramirez had to be separated on Wednesday during a dugout dispute at the end of the first inning at Maryvale Baseball Park. On a sunny, 69-degree afternoon, another Cubs pitcher had a meltdown in a 12-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Silva is a proud, emotional man fighting for a spot in the rotation. He gave up six runs - three earned - during a wild sequence and walked off the mound complaining about his defense. He had allowed two two-run homers, but was also undermined by three errors.

Ramirez is one of the coolest, most detached guys in the Cubs clubhouse. He dropped one ball in shallow left field. Though Silva didn't criticize Ramirez directly, the third baseman said something right back.

Ramirez - who's been a Cub since 2003, longer than almost anyone else on the team - called it a "misunderstanding" and said he talked it out with Silva, that it's all good.

"I never had that problem in my life," Ramirez said. "Even in Little League I never got involved with a teammate like that. (But) it's in the past and we move on."

Silva has said that he thinks he deserves one of the two open spots in the rotation, but he was still in a fragile position. Silva, who was acquired from Seattle when the Cubs unloaded Milton Bradley, pitched like an All-Star during the first half of last season.

But Silva, who will turn 32 in April, underwent a cardiac procedure and dealt with elbow issues that limited him to only 5.1 innings during the final two months.

"You take the good with the bad," catcher Koyie Hill said. "It's a high-pressure job. Guys are going out there for a job. That's their livelihood. They want to be good. They put a lot of pressure on themselves. So stuff like that can happen. I don't think it's going to be a problem."

Silva was pulled after one inning, though manager Mike Quade said the right-hander had reached his pitch count, close to 40. He walked to a side field with a Cubs strength coach to finish his conditioning. As a group of reporters staked out the clubhouse, he refused to comment on the incident.

"We don't have to fight," outfielder Alfonso Soriano said. "We have a lot of pressure in Chicago with the fans, with the media. We don't need that."

The Cubs were embarrassed by a similar incident last season, when Carlos Zambrano confronted Derrek Lee over a defensive breakdown. Zambrano was suspended and forced to attend anger-management counseling, though Quade and Ramirez tried to distance themselves from that comparison.

Does Silva have to apologize to the team, like Zambrano did last year?

"You got to ask him that," Ramirez said. "I don't know what he's got on his mind. I can speak only about myself. I can't answer for Silva."

Silva is owed 11.5 million in the last year of his contract, which contains a 2 million buyout for 2012.

Quade said that Silva will not face any disciplinary action from him, though that doesn't mean the issue is completely resolved. General manager Jim Hendry did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Quade doesn't want to pin this all on Silva, because the Cubs have already committed 14 errors this spring.

"You got two pissed-off people," Quade said. "It was a brutal first inning, plenty of blame to go around and people get frustrated. Maybe that's what we freaking need."

WATCH: Quade's reaction to the incident

Ramirez does not seem like the type to hold a grudge. He also kind of smiled and said, "I'm not a troublemaker."

By the end, as the crowd of 3,548 was thinning out, the public-address announcer told everyone over the speakers, "Carlos Silva takes the loss."

PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Addison Russell is so over 2017: 'That's last year, don't want to talk about that'

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USA TODAY

Addison Russell is so over 2017: 'That's last year, don't want to talk about that'

MESA, Ariz. — “That’s last year, don’t want to talk about that.”

In other words, Addison Russell is so over 2017.

The Cubs shortstop went through a lot last year. He dealt with injuries that affected his foot and shoulder. He had a well-documented off-the-field issue involving an accusation of domestic abuse, which sparked an investigation by Major League Baseball. And then came the trade speculation.

The hot stove season rarely leaves any player completely out of online trade discussion. But after Theo Epstein admitted there was a possibility the Cubs could trade away one or more young position players to bolster the starting rotation, well, Russell’s name came up.

And he saw it.

“There was a lot of trade talk,” Russell said Saturday. “My initial thoughts were, I hope it doesn’t happen, but wherever I go, I’m going to try to bring what I bring to the table here. It’s a good thing that it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m happy being in a Cubs uniform, I want to be in a Cubs uniform, for sure. But there was some talk out there. If I got traded, then I got traded, but that’s not the case.”

No, it’s not, as the Cubs solved those pitching questions with free-agent spending, bringing in Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood to replace the departed Jake Arrieta and John Lackey. It means Russell, along with oft-discussed names like Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ and Javy Baez, are all still Cubs.

While the outside world might have expected one of those guys to be moved in some sort of blockbuster trade for Chris Archer or some other All-Star arm, the Cubs’ young core remains intact, another reason why they’re as much a favorite to win the World Series as any team out there.

“I’m really not surprised. The core is still here. Who would want to break that up? It’s a beautiful thing,” Russell said. “Javy and I in the middle. Schwarber, sometimes playing catcher but mainly outfield. And then (Kris Bryant) over there in the hot corner, and of course (Anthony) Rizzo at first. You’ve got a Gold Glover in right field (Jason Heyward). It’s really hard to break that up.

“When you do break that down on paper, we’ve got a lineup that could stack up with the best.”

This winter has been about moving on for Russell, who said he’s spent months working to strengthen his foot and shoulder after they limited him to 110 games last season, the fewest he played in his first three big league campaigns.

And so for Russell, the formula for returning to his 2016 levels of offensive aptitude isn’t a difficult one: stay on the field.

“Especially with the injuries, I definitely wanted to showcase some more of my talent last year than I displayed,” Russell said. “So going into this year, it’s mainly just keeping a good mental — just staying level headed. And also staying healthy and producing and being out there on the field.

“Next step for me, really just staying out there on the field. I really want to see what I can do as far as helping the team if I can stay healthy for a full season. I think if I just stay out there on the field, I’m going to produce.”

While the decrease in being on the field meant lower numbers from a “counting” standpoint — the drop from 21 homers in 2016 to 12 last year, the drop from 95 RBIs to 43 can in part be attributed to the lower number of games — certain rate stats looked different, too. His on-base percentage dropped from .321 in 2016 to .304 last year.

Russell also struggled during the postseason, picking up just six hits in 36 plate appearances in series against the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers. He struck out 13 times in 10 postseason games.

Of course, he wasn’t alone. That World Series hangover was team-wide throughout the first half of the season. And even though the Cubs scored 824 runs during the regular season, the second most in the National League and the fourth most in baseball, plenty of guys had their offensive struggles: Schwarber, Heyward and Ben Zobrist, to name a few.

“You can’t take anything for granted. So whenever you win a World Series or you do something good, you just have to live in the moment,” Russell said. “It was a tough season last year because we were coming off winning the World Series and the World Series hangover and all that. This year, we had a couple months off, a couple extra weeks off, and I think a lot of guys took advantage of that. I know I did. And now that we’re here in spring training, we’re going to get back at it.”

Cubs Talk Podcast: Discussing 5-man unit and where Montgomery fits into Cubs' plans

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Discussing 5-man unit and where Montgomery fits into Cubs' plans

Jon Lester has arrived at Cubs camp, and he’s pleased with the new-look rotation full of potential aces. Kelly Crull and Vinnie Duber discuss the 5-man unit, and where Mike Montgomery fits into the Cubs’ plans.

Plus, Kelly and Vinnie talk Jason Heyward and Kyle Schwarber, along with the continuing free agent stalemate surrounding Jake Arrieta.

Listen to the full Cubs Talk Podcast right here: