Silva won't face Mariners
The right-hander who wore out his welcome in the Pacific Northwest and was swapped for Chicago flop Milton Bradley, will miss his Thursday start due to a minor hamstring injury.
Silva left his last start, June 18 against the Angels, with what was described as leg cramps. Piniella said that's when he suffered the hamstring injury.
"Yeah, he tweaked it pretty good the other day," Piniella said. "We had to get him out of the game after 69 pitches."
Also for the Cubs, third baseman Aramis Ramirez will not come off the disabled list Wednesday. Piniella says the team is now planning to activate him on Friday and start him against the White Sox.
Ramirez said his bruised left thumb is better, but he thinks he's going to have to play through some pain for the rest of this season.
Piniella has been trying to get Ramirez to swing with his left thumb tucked into the palm of his right hand, to reduce the stress on it as he swings. But Ramirez, who has surpassed 100 RBIs six times in the last nine years, says that's been a tough adjustment.
"I've been hitting [with the thumb up] for 15 years," said Ramirez, who rejoined the Cubs after a rehab stint with Class-A Peoria.
After going 5-18 with a 6.81 ERA in two seasons with the Mariners, Silva was traded for Bradley. The switch-hitting Bradley hit .257 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs after signing a three-year deal with the Cubs.
Rarely do change of scenery deals work this well. Silva is 8-2 with a 3.01 ERA for the Cubs. He started the season 8-0 but hasn't pitched badly while losing his last two starts.
"Actually, the last two games that he's pitched -- both losses -- I thought he pitched better then than when he first started the season," Piniella said. "He's done a heck of a job, he really has. He's been our best starting pitcher."
Without him, the disappointing Cubs wouldn't be clinging to third place in the NL Central.
''I tell you what, man, we'd be a lot worse off without him,'' catcher Koyie Hill said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. ''You think about it, here's a guy who comes in happy every day, focused every day, excited to see his teammates and excited to go out there and get better and work hard on achieving the next goal.
''He's extremely motivated, and it rubs off. He fits right in with the rest of the starters.''
Bradley, on the other hand, saw his personal struggles come to a head and has spent time away from the Mariners seeking help. He is hitting .215 with six homers and 25 RBIs in 172 at-bats. The Mariners are languishing in last place in the AL West.
When he came to bat in the first inning, the many Cubs fans at Safeco booed him.
"I'm glad he's gotten some good help," Piniella said. "I'd like to see Milton do well. The year he had with us in Chicago, he did what he could. You look forward to your former players doing well. I wish him the best."
Silva and Bradley aren't the only story in town, however. Piniella returns to the city where he managed for 10 seasons, winning 1,551 games and three division titles.
Piniella went to lunch Tuesday with the top Mariners executives who first brought him to Seattle almost 20 years ago. Then, he visited the same Mariners staffers who were working for the team when he was in the Seattle dugout. And he admitted he got "teary eyed."
"I look forward to seeing some friends -- and I'd like to see Junior [just-retired Griffey] and a few of the guys like Edgar and [Jay] Buhner and Danny Wilson who live in the area,'' he said, according to the newspaper. ''But I'm not going to Seattle to eat Alaskan king crab. We're going to win games.''Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.