MESA, Ariz. -- As far as Carlos Silva is concerned, the Cubs only need to find one starter this spring, and not two to round out the rotation.
"Competition is always good," Silva said Tuesday. "If they have me compete again, that's all I can do is compete. I don't have to prove or show them. I showed them what I can do."
Silva, 31, began last season 8-0 in his first 11 starts with the Cubs, but won two of his final 10 games. It was a strange second half, which included him needing a procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat. Silva's last game was Sept. 7, and he was sidelined the rest of the season because of tendinitis in his right elbow.
The Cubs came into this camp with Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza set for the rotation. But Silva said he's also got a spot.
"Whatever happened after the first half with my heart and then with my elbow, I don't think it's a reason to take me out of the rotation," Silva said. "They're the boss and they're the ones who make the decision. If I have to win my spot again, I'll do it. Yesterday, someone asked me, 'Are the fourth and fifth spots still open?' For them, it's open. For whoever is competing, it's open. For me, there's only one spot open because I am one of the starters. They think like that, not me."
Cubs manager Mike Quade is keeping his options open.
"[Silva] had such a great start last year, but the back half of the season and staying healthy and being effective right out of the chute again is important," Quade said. "I'm probably of the mind-set that everybody has something to prove.
"His experience speaks for itself and his start last year was fantastic," Quade said, "but there are a few guarantees in this game and I'm not sure the back end of this rotation has got anybody guaranteed anything. He does have the experience. I expect him to be a prominent consideration. We'll see."
Silva had his first bullpen session on Tuesday and looked good. Yes, he's still a large man, but his weight had nothing to do with his second-half struggles.
"I know how this works," Silva said. "The only thing you need to do is put zeros on the board and everybody will be happy. If you put zeros on the board, you'll have perfect weight, the best-looking face, and you are the perfect guy. I spent two months like that -- I was the best guy. Everybody cheered for Carlos. Something happened, and boom, 'You need to lose weight, you need to do this, you need to be blond.'"
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.