Friday, April 9, 2010

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After suffering through two straight disappointing seasons, Carlos Silva is getting a chance to revive his career with the Chicago Cubs.

The veteran right-hander makes his Cubs debut Friday night in the opener of a weekend series against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark.

After going 47-45 for Minnesota from 2004-07, Silva spent two miserable seasons in Seattle. Struggling with injuries, he went 5-18 with a 6.81 ERA in two years with the Mariners. Shoulder problems limited him to eight appearances a year ago.

With no future in Seattle, the Mariners traded him to Chicago for volatile outfielder Milton Bradley. Looking for a fresh start, Silva went 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in six starts during spring training and earned a spot in the Cubs' rotation.

"I'll tell you what, he can pitch," ace Carlos Zambrano told the Cubs' official Web site. "I don't know what's been going on but the last two seasons, it looks like he's been distracted or doing something wrong."

One reason Silva points to as a reason for his struggles, was that his mother was denied a visa from Venezuela for the last three years, but was finally able to get one and re-join him in the United States.

With his shoulder problems behind him and personal life in order, Silva makes his first start since May 6, with some renewed purpose.

"I'm very excited," said Silva, who has an 8.10 ERA in five relief appearances against the Reds. "I'm looking forward to starting my first game and hopefully pitch the way I pitched in spring."

Chicago (1-2) hopes for the same as they try to continue their recent dominance over the Reds. The Cubs have won eight of 10 against their NL Central rival, and went 4-2 at Cincinnati last season.

After being blown out in their season opener and losing a late lead Wednesday at Atlanta, the Cubs beat the Braves 2-0 on Thursday.

Marlon Byrd hit his second home and Tyler Colvin added his first career homer for Chicago, which hit .176 and scored nine runs in the opening series.

Derrek Lee singled Thursday for his first hit in nine at-bats. Lee, though, is hitting .314 with 12 homers and 33 RBIs in his last 35 games at Great American Ballpark. He's 3 for 5 against Cincinnati's scheduled starter Homer Bailey.

In his first full major league season, Bailey went 8-5 with a 4.53 ERA for the Reds last season. The right-hander was most effective over his last nine starts, going 6-1 with a 1.70 ERA.

"What it does is give you motivation," Bailey told the Reds' official Web site of his strong finish."

Bailey is 1-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts versus Chicago.

Jonny Gomes' solo homer in the ninth inning gave Cincinnati (1-2) a 2-1 home win over St. Louis on Thursday. The Reds, however, managed three runs while dropping two of three to the Cardinals.

"It's always good getting that zero off the board, no matter what the category is - wins, hits, whatever,'' Gomes said. "We've got some good momentum with the Cubs coming in."

Joey Votto is 5 for 12 for the Reds this season, and has 12 home runs with 29 RBIs in 33 games versus Chicago.

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