Carlos Silva takes blame for altercation

MESA, Ariz. -- The Chicago Cubs had a players-only meeting on Thursday to go along with the team meeting that manager Mike Quade called after Wednesday's dugout tussle between third baseman Aramis Ramirez and pitcher Carlos Silva.

Quade found out about the meeting Friday morning and had no problems with it.

"I think it's not a good thing if it becomes a public meeting," Quade said. "But those guys will do what they have to do. I have enough to do to keep my eye on the club and keep it in the right direction. Veterans aren't just veterans because they've been around for a while. They are smart enough to figure things out as well."

Veteran pitcher Kerry Wood said conflicts between teammates are realatively common.

"It happens every year," Wood said. "I've been involved in [fights] before myself. You guys didn't know about it. But it happens. You never like to see it happen where everyone sees it. But we are all grown men. We leave here in four weeks and we want to work together for 162 games. It better bring us closer."

Meanwhile on Friday, Silva took the blame for Wednesday's dugout confrontation with Ramirez and admitted he's feeling some frustration in trying to land a spot in the starting rotation.

The altercation took place after a first inning that featured three Cubs errors -- one by Ramirez -- and two home runs by the Milwaukee Brewers.

"That was a very hard inning," Silva said Friday, addressing the incident for the first time after refusing previous requests. "I gave up those two homers, I came to the dugout and tried to take it easy. I tried to relax and let it go. The only thing I said was, 'We need to start making plays here.'

"He took it personally. I knew it was my mistake. It was my fault. You shouldn't say anything. But he took it personally. We argued in the dugout."

Silva has stated that based on an 8-0 start last season, he proved he belongs in the rotation. But Quade named Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza as his starters, leaving the fourth and fifth spots open.

"For me it was a little bit harder [than it was for Ramirez] ... because it was like ... 'Who's going to be the fifth starter?' " Silva said. "We don't know yet. I'm working for that. I don't take anything for granted. It was hard."

Quade said there wouldn't be any fines or discipline resulting from the incident. In fact, he said he's glad someone was upset about the Cubs' sloppy play thus far in the spring.

Ramirez said the incident is in the past. Silva and Ramirez have yet to speak since the incident. Ramirez wanted to talk Wednesday, but Silva wanted to put it off until emotions cooled off.

"Right now I'll do what I have to do," Silva said. "It's like Quade said, if I have to prove it and show them, I'll do what I have to do.

"But no excuses, in that first start I was absolutely brutal. When I went home I told my wife that wasn't me. That's why I say it's all my fault. I don't like to have any problems with any of my teammates. I think it's the worst thing that can happen to you. You spend more time with these guys than you do with your family. That's the last thing I want."

Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com.