Andrew Cashner wins rotation spot

Carlos Silva's career with the Chicago Cubs is over, the veteran pitcher said Saturday.

According to general manager Jim Hendry, Andrew Cashner will begin the season as the team's fifth starter.

Hendry said Silva will be given the option to go to Triple-A if he accepts a waiver assignment.

"No chance," Silva said when asked if he'd go to the Cubs' Triple-A affiliate. "That's not on my mind right now. Not at all. That's like I'm an insurance player. I guess that's what they want."

Silva was granted his unconditional release Sunday, the Cubs announced.

The Cubs are responsible for Silva's $11.5 million contract. If another team signs Silva to a 2011 contract, the amount the Cubs owe him would be lessened by the amount of that deal. Silva's contract also includes a $2 million buyout of a 2012 option, which the Mariners are responsible for paying at the end of the season. Silva was acquired from the Mariners for Milton Bradley in December 2009.

Silva took the news that he was beaten out for the fifth and final rotation spot from Hendry in stride. He wasn't pleased, however, with the way pitching coach Mark Riggins talked around Silva's role on the team.

"It's like when you have something to say, be straight," Silva said. "He has to learn he's in the big leagues now. You know what I mean? The way he laid it out, I don't know what he was trying to do. He talked about going out there and continue building and throw in some games. But when I told him I'm ready to pitch, and he said there's no spot in the rotation or the bullpen."

In recent weeks, teams have scouted Silva's spring training starts. However, there has been little to no interest in acquiring him.

Silva had a 1-2 record and a 10.90 ERA in five spring appearances. On Wednesday, he allowed only one run in six innings against Oakland. Before that, his spring training composite was 29 hits and 20 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings and a 15.99 ERA.

Cashner beat out both Silva and Braden Looper for the fifth rotation spot. Upon hearing the news that he wouldn't make the team's big league roster, Looper announced his retirement Friday.

As for Silva, he had a different take on the situation.

"I knew it was a competition, and I have nothing against [Cashner]," Silva said. "He's a great kid. But the way they laid out everything, [it wasn't] the right thing. [It wasn't] fair for either one [of us]. You know."

Asked if he believed he had enough chances to make the team, Silva responded: "I had a lot of chances. But say what you have to say. That's it. Don't say people are competing for a spot because it wasn't true. They already had their rotation down. It was very clear."

Silva wants to continue pitching for another major league team. And he believes he can be a valuable addition.

"I feel really good," Silva said. "If I get picked by another team, I'll go there and do my best."

With Marcos Mateo being named the seventh and final pitcher out of the Cubs' bullpen, the only question on the roster becomes the backup catcher spot. According to multiple sources, Koyie Hill will win that job.

Also on Saturday, the Cubs optioned right-handed pitchers Casey Coleman and Jeff Stevens to Triple-A, leaving the current roster size at 28.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com.