With decision looming, Carlos Silva needs rabbit’s foot
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org March 19, 2011 11:36PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
PEORIA, Ariz. — While a lot of the major roster questions have all but answered themselves through three weeks of spring games, a key decision day is coming by midweek, possibly in time to affect Carlos Silva’s next start.
The $11.5 million pitcher has had a poor spring and is far behind Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner in competition for the two openings in the rotation.
‘‘That’s not at the forefront of my mind,’’ said manager Mike Quade, who was asked if Silva’s status could change before what would be a scheduled start Wednesday. ‘‘Oh, I don’t know. It’s possible my status could change by then.’’
But sometime before a set of three consecutive home games starting Wednesday, Quade anticipates a sit-down with general manager Jim Hendry and other decision makers to get the roster close to 25.
‘‘We need to talk about the ballclub, obviously, and probably need to get some people out of here and in the minor-league camp,’’ said Quade, who has 39 active players in camp.
Quade says he plans to have Silva start on schedule, possibly with Carlos Zambrano — also scheduled that day — starting on the minor-league side of camp.
‘‘Would we like to see Silv pitch better? Absolutely,’’ Quade said. ‘‘But he still needs to make his pitches, and he should still be in that 75-pitch range if we can get that done.’’
Silva, who gave up eight runs (five earned) in three innings Friday, said he had ‘‘no words’’ to describe the kind of day it was in a 14-13 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. The bigger problem is that the rest of his spring hasn’t been much better.
‘‘I feel comfortable, I feel relaxed and strong,’’ Silva said. ‘‘I’m not a guy that believes in good luck, but right now, I got a lot of bad luck. I told [teammate Marcos] Mateo, ‘You’re going to go to the Grand Canyon with me to jump to see if it goes away.’ ”
Maybe just a rabbit’s foot?
‘‘Boy, find me one — a big one, too,’’ he said.
No to Castillo
Despite their uncertainty at second base and the fact they had some interest in Luis Castillo a couple of winters ago, the Cubs don’t appear likely to go after the former New York Mets second baseman, even if he clears waivers today.
‘‘I haven’t seen enough of him to know what he’s got left,” Quade said. “I’ve been thrilled to death with [Darwin] Barney and [Jeff Baker], and I believe that [Blake DeWitt’s] work ethic will get him through what’s been a tough string for him and that he still is going to be a valuable guy.’’
The Cubs hadn’t discussed the possibility of Castillo as of Saturday afternoon, suggesting team evaluators don’t consider him an upgrade over in-house personnel.
‘‘I don’t even know how well he runs now,’’ Quade said. ‘‘When you’re slapping it around like he does, it’s good to have some legs to go with it. And his arm was never fantastic, so I don’t know.’’