|Intensity, perspective make Carlos Silva a refreshing addition to Mariners|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 15 March 2008 09:13|
The bullish pitcher has legs like pillars. His shoulders seem to jut into neighboring locker stalls. The NFL's Seattle Seahawks could use him on their defensive line - he's listed at 6-foot-4, 246 pounds, but says he's really 270.
He's just finished 45 minutes on a cardio step machine and then a conditioning run around the field with some of his fellow pitchers. He is drenched in perspiration, and not even a little satisfied that he's done enough.
``That's my style,'' the former Minnesota Twins starter said. ``This team brought me here for one reason. They didn't bring me here just to be a good guy on the team.''
But he is that, too.
Some of his new teammates initially shied away from coming up to the imposing Silva.
``But you get to know him, he's just a big teddy bear,'' fellow new pitcher R.A. Dickey said. ``Just a great guy.''
A great big guy.
Hours after Silva's latest early morning grind, teammates emerged from the lunch room stunned.
``Silva's eating four four-by-fours - 16 patties!'' one said, marveling over burgers brought in from a local joint.
Mariners manager John McLaren says Silva's size is not an issue.
``It doesn't bother me at all,'' McLaren said. ``He works as hard as anyone. He's here at 6:45 every morning, working.''
Silva acknowledges going extra hard now to impress his new team.
``I want the team, I want the entire Northwest part of the country to feel, 'This is what we paid all that good money for,''' he said.
Ah, yes, the money.
Most players won't talk about the size of their contracts. Not Silva. He's motivated by the fact that Seattle, desperate to upgrade its starting pitching after missing the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, paid him $48 million for four years. It's a mind-boggling sum for a pitcher who went 13-14 last year with the Twins and who has never won more than 14 games in a major league season.
Even to Silva.
``It is wild,'' the 28-year-old right-handed sinkerballer said when he signed.
Silva's 4.19 ERA last season was better than every Mariners starter other than Felix Hernandez. The Mariners love that Silva pitches deep into games, generally stays low in the strike zone with a sharp sinker and walked just 36 batters in 202 innings last season.
``It's like a blessing,'' Silva said of his deal. ``A lot of people will say lots of things about the money, but that's what we work for. I am a hard worker.''
He gets it from his dad.
Alberto Silva spent three decades working days and nights in a steel factory near the family home in Bolivar, Venezuela. Mother Zulay stayed busy raising Silva, his three sisters and one brother.
``My father was a hard worker. I mean, a HARD worker,'' Silva said. ``He worked 33 years with that steel company and I told him, 'As soon as I make enough money, you are retiring.'
``Two years ago, he retired,'' Silva said, beaming proudly.
Now that they are in camp, the Mariners love Silva's intensity and authenticity.
He is treating each spring outing as if it's the middle of a pennant race. He was far from satisfied with five scoreless innings in his most recent start this week because he gave up seven singles.
``I've got a long way to go, man,'' he said. ``It's not enough to see a lot of zeros on the board. I have to be more consistent.''
McLaren just shrugs.
``You know what?'' the manager said. ``I think he only has one gear.''