4/22 Silva gets a little help from friends
The difference for Carlos Silva may have come in January when he showed up at the Cubs Convention. His agent told him that pitching coach Larry Rothschild wanted Silva to throw a bullpen session. Silva, acquired the month before from Seattle for Milton Bradley, agreed. He figured Rothschild wanted to see how strong the right-hander’s shoulder was.
“[Rothschild] said, ‘I want you to do this, this and this,’” Silva said Thursday of the immediate instruction Rothschild gave him. “I was like, ‘Whoa.’ It gave me a lot of confidence in him. I said, ‘Wow, this guy is ready to work with me.’ That means a lot to me.”
Silva and Rothschild have combined to create one of the nice surprises on the Cubs so far. The veteran pitcher, coming off two dreadful seasons in Seattle when he was a combined 5-18 and battled shoulder problems, heads into his next start Monday at 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA.
“For the last two years, I’ve been working so hard to get something good out of all this work,” Silva said. “This is a good start, but we have to keep working hard. There’s a long way to go. I can continue helping this team.”
Silva also decided he needed help with the mental part of the game and met with a counselor last year. He’s still in contact with him.
“The last two years, sometimes I put baseball before my family,” he said. “That’s how much baseball means to me — it’s my profession and what I love to do.”
Part of the counseling involves developing patience. Silva’s wife advises him that good things will happen but he admits he’s anxious. The pitcher also talked this spring to the Cubs’ new sports psychologist, Mark Strickland. Silva will call if he needs a little boost of confidence.
“Whatever is bothering me, I call the guy,” Silva said.
So far, he’s getting good advice.
– Carrie Muskat