Carlos Silva and Aramis Ramirez were involved in a dugout skirmish after a three-error first inning Wednesday, including one by the Cubs third baseman, and manager Mike Quade said he would address the team on Thursday.
Quade said he planned to talk to the players after Wednesday's game, a 12-5 loss to the Brewers, as his team made five more errors. The spring total now is a 1-3 record, 14 errors and one altercation.
"These are things you don't like and don't want," Quade said. "You want everything to go real smooth, and it doesn't all the time. I'd almost rather that than complacency. ... As frustrated as I was watching, you wonder, 'Will somebody say something besides me?' We'll try to build on this tomorrow and wake the group up."Silva, in competition for one of two openings in the rotation, was making his first spring start. He walked leadoff man Craig Counsell, and Luis Cruz followed with a two-run homer to tie the game at 2. One out later, Ramirez dropped Prince Fielder's popup for an error. Casey McGehee then hit a two-run homer, and George Kottaras was safe on a fielding error by shortstop Starlin Castro, who couldn't get a grip on the grounder.Silva appeared to be out of the inning with a double play, but catcher Koyie Hill was called for catcher's interference. The Brewers then added two more runs.
As the players went into the dugout, words were exchanged between Silva and Ramirez and there was a brief scuffle. Silva did not return for another inning and told a Cubs official he did not want to talk about what happened. A Brewers clubhouse employee drove Silva off in an equipment cart.
"You've got two [ticked] off people," Quade said of Silva and Ramirez. "It was a brutal first inning, plenty of blame to go around, and people get frustrated. Maybe that's what we frickin' need. Maybe we need to get [ticked] off.
"Today was tough to watch. It hasn't been fun to begin with, but today was tough. Guys get upset and we'll handle it in-house."
He did not expect Silva to be disciplined.
"Silva was frustrated and made a general comment defensively, and I think Ramy took issue with it," Quade said. "Ramy had a bad inning and he knew Silva was upset and decided to tell him, 'Hey, I don't need to hear that.' It was an unfortunate deal but it's not a big deal."
Ramirez said it was his first such dugout altercation.
"I never have that problem in my life, not in the regular season, nowhere, not in Little League," he said. "I never got involved with a teammate like that. It's in the past and we'll move on."
So, is he a peacemaker?
"I never got involved with nobody in my life," Ramirez said. "I'm not a troublemaker, put it that way."
"Carlos and Aramis, they have a lot of years in the big leagues," Chicago's Alfonso Soriano said, "and I think they want to talk, and I hope when they talk, everything stays behind them. We don't need that. We have a lot of pressure in Chicago with the fans and the media, so we don't need that on the team."
Soriano said when he makes an error and a player comes to him, he'll admit it's his fault.
"Maybe Aramis, he isn't in a good mood today," Soriano said. "If he is in a good mood, maybe nothing happens."
Ramirez said the matter was behind him.
"It was just a misunderstanding out there and everything is taken care of," Ramirez said. "I'm not going into details."
Last June, Carlos Zambrano yelled at teammates in the dugout after the first inning of an Interleague game against the White Sox. He was suspended for three games and eventually placed on the restricted list to undergo anger management therapy. Quade said it's "ridiculous" to compare the two incidents.
"I wouldn't compare that unless there was something I missed," he said.
Earlier this spring, Silva said he didn't see himself in competition for a spot in the rotation and felt he had one locked up after last season, when he was 10-6 with the Cubs in 21 starts. The sloppy play in the first didn't help his cause.
"It was obvious he was upset," Ramirez said. "Nobody wants to make errors. Nobody feels worse than an infielder or outfielder when they make errors, but we talked about it. Everything's back to normal now."
The Brewers could only watch in bemusement.
"I heard something," McGehee said. "Something got my attention, but I just caught the tail end of it. ... By the time I turned, it was over with. I heard some yelling, and I thought something was going on in the stands, to be honest with you."
Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo was trying to warm up for the second inning, and catcher Kottaras was apparently focused on the Cubs dugout, not his pitcher.
"I was looking over there," Gallardo said. "I'm looking at Georgie with my hands up like, 'I've got to warm up.' I can't be looking in the other dugout. I don't know what went on. That's baseball -- things like that are going to happen."
Ramirez tried to downplay the incident.
"It doesn't mean anything," Ramirez said. "It means he's a competitor and he wants to do good. Obviously, he didn't do good and throw the ball the way he likes today, and we didn't make the plays behind him either. Everything went the other way."
Quade did address the players in the dugout at the time and told them to wake up. That's the PG version of his comments.
Even if the Silva-Ramirez fracas didn't happen, Quade said he needed to talk to the team Thursday because of the sloppy play.
"I've got to do it for me," he said. "I can't sleep if I don't address this thing."
It's a tough test for the first-year manager.
"I've been thrilled to death the way camp has gone," Quade said. "I haven't been happy with the way the games have gone. ... I'm glad guys are irritated, but we have to channel it in the right direction. The good news is we have 26, 27 days to get it straightened out. As a club, it hasn't been good."