Jake Arrieta completed a simulated game and faced hitters Sunday for the first time this spring. Chris Bosio and Rick Sutcliffe were two of the four coaches on hand Sunday to watch Arrieta, along with one of the Cubs’ trainers. Arrieta reportedly threw 24 pitches during BP with his fastball in the low-90s (90-92 mph) and slider in the mid-80s (85-87 mph). ESPN Chicago reported, Arrieta threw 41 warm-up pitches prior to facing hitters.
After the simulated game Arrieta said, “Everything felt crisp. I wanted to throw everything for strikes including off-speed, just to get the rotation down. I feel like the strength was good, the velocities were good.”
If all is well with Arrieta on Monday, he will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday then face hitters again on Friday according to ESPN Chicago. The Sun-Times reported Arrieta could make his Cactus League debut if his pen session Tuesday goes well. The Cubs have not said when, or if, Arrieta will pitch in a Cactus League game.
During Sunday’s game, Comcast SportsNet reported Jake Arrieta will miss a start or two at the beginning of the season. Arrieta told ESPN Chicago, “Only having to miss a start or two isn’t the worst case.”
Chris Bosio liked what he saw from Arrieta on Sunday. According to ESPN Chicago, Bosio was encouraged by the way Arrieta pitched Sunday.
The Cubs have not made the announcement, but with less than two weeks remaining in the spring games, Jake Arrieta will begin the season on the DL and it sounds like he has accepted the fact he will miss at least the first two weeks of the season.
Carlos Villanueva, Chris Rusin and James McDonald are the leading candidates to fill the fifth sport in the rotation in Arrieta’s absence. Bruce Levine reported Villanueva has a leg up on Rusin and McDonald for the fifth spot while the Tribune reported Rusin appears to be the new frontrunner after his performance Sunday against the Mets. And Tsuyoshi Wada is also in the conversation as well according to reports from Cubs.com and the Tribune despite his performance this spring.
Mike Olt took grounders at third before Sunday’s game against the Indians. Brandon Hyde hit the grounders and Olt made the throws. The Cubs have not said when he will see time at third base during a Cactus League game, but Olt maintained Sunday it would be soon.
Mike Olt appears to have a chance to break camp as the Cubs’ starting third baseman if he can show he play the position during games.
News and Notes
Chris Bosio told ESPN Chicago, the Cubs are trying “to put the reins” on Arodys Vizcaino. Bosio said he likes to throw and the Cubs are trying to be careful with him this spring so he can begin the season pitching either out of the Cubs’ pen or out of the I-Cubs’ pen … and not on a disabled list.
Travis Wood said six innings or around 90 pitches will be his target in his next spring start. Wood will back down to around 60 pitches in his last Cactus League outing.