Carlos Silva believes he has already won a spot in the Cubs rotation

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It may be the first day of spring training, but Carlos Silva is oozing confidence about his place in the Cubs plans:

“For me, there’s only one spot open. I am one of the starters, you know what I mean? Whatever they think, they think that, not me.”

He did add that “if I have to win my spot, I’ll do it. I have no problem with that,” so it’s not like he’s suffering from some overactive sense of entitlement.  And I suppose you’d have to at least pencil Silva in as the fifth starter right now.  But really, Silva pitched over his head last year. Perhaps he just figured out what he’d been doing wrong for so long, but it’s also possible that he’ll be back to 2008-2009 levels — or even career averages — in 2011.

There are a number of fringe arms in Cubs camp who could conceivably profile as a fifth starter.  Silva may simply be talking himself up, but really, he’s the Cubs pitcher who is least assured of a slot in the rotation right now, isn’t he?

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.

Rays activate Kevin Kiermaier

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The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.

Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.