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Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Silva not taking great outing for granted

By Bruce Levine

Carlos Silva
Carlos Silva pitched four shutout innings against the Rangers on Tuesday.
Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Silva took one giant step toward claiming a rotation spot with four shutout innings against Texas on Tuesday.

Silva, who had been second-guessed by many observers for showing up to camp overweight, was not taking one good outing for granted.

“I don’t worry to make the rotation,” Silva said. “I’m very competitive; I want to make the rotation, because that’s what we’re working for. But the only thing I want to do, to be honest, is to help this team win.”

In Silva’s last two starts, he’s thrown seven innings combined, giving up no runs on six hits, walking two and striking out three.

“We have four guys fighting for two rotation spots,” Silva said. “For me, you can pick anybody.”

Silva, a veteran, knows that pitching well in March has very little to do with the regular season.

“For me, you can have a good spring training, and it doesn’t mean that you are going to have a good regular season,” Silva said.

Silva was a combined 5-18 with Seattle in 2008 and 2009. A right shoulder injury kept him from pitching most of last season. The right-hander was only able to make six starts for the Mariners in 2009. Silva was more excited about his mother receiving a 10-year visa permit from the U.S. Government on Tuesday than his four shutout innings vs. Texas. Silva is a native of Venezuela.

It was a good day all around for the Cubs as the team pitched well, led by Silva’s outing and is Esmailin Caridad’s two shutout innings after Silva pitched.

“He made it look really easy,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said about Silva’s outing. “I like the way he pitched inside, I like the way he elevated the ball. Caridad 6 up and 6 down, [Marcos] Mateo, Jeff [Stevens], [James] Russell; [it] was one of the better pitched games in spring training on both sides.”

  • The Cubs’ version of American Idol has four finalists. In a new format of rookie hazing, the Cubs’ veterans adopted a sing-off for the young players on the team. Finalists include Tyler Colvin, Starlin Castro, Justing Berg, and Darwin Barney.

    Saturday’s finals judges are Ryan Dempster (also known as Simon), Kevin Millar, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. According to team sources, Barney is the prohibitive favorite to win.
  • Second baseman Mike Fontenot will get a couple of complete games at shortstop over the weekend, according to Piniella. Coaching staff has to decide if Fontenot can play shortstop well enough to give starting shortstop Ryan Theriot a day off now and then, and whether or not Piniella can use him in double switches late in ballgames.

    The fate of Andres Blanco, Millar, Chad Tracy, and Micah Hoffpauir may depend on how Fontenot plays shortstop during the later stages of spring training. Piniella is still deciding on how he wants the bench rolls to be filled on the team.