Wednesday, March 2, 2011Posted: 4:25 PM Updated: 8:13 PM
By Patrick Mooney
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.