Arrieta Closing In On Joining Cubs Rotation and Other News and Rumors

According to a report from the Tribune, Jake Arrieta could be close to joining the Cubs’ rotation. Arrieta was scheduled to make his third rehab start on Tuesday but rain cancelled the Smokies game and Arrieta’s start was pushed to Wednesday. Arrieta told Mark Gonzales he would like to make one more rehab outing after Wednesday in order to build his pitch count and work deeper in a game before being activated from the disabled list.

Jake Arrieta threw 66 pitches over 3 2/3 innings his last time out and is scheduled to throw around 80 to 85 pitches or six innings on Wednesday. Arrieta feels another start like the one he is scheduled for Wednesday would put him on track to join the Cubs rotation toward the end of the month. Arrieta’s fourth and final rehab outing could be with Triple-A Iowa next week. And unless he suffers a setback, Arrieta should be ready to make his 2014 debut at some point while the Cubs are in Milwaukee (April 25-27) or Cincinnati (April 28-30). As Mark Gonzales pointed out, the Cubs begin a stretch of 30 games in 31 days following Thursday’s off day (April 17) and having Arrieta in the rotation would push Carlos Villanueva to the pen and give the team a long reliever.

Rick Renteria did not shift is rotation with two scheduled days off this week. Jason Hammel pitches the first game in the Bronx on Wednesday. Travis Wood will throw in the nightcap and Renteria will give the ball to Jeff Samardzija (Friday), Carlos Villanueva (Saturday) and Edwin Jackson (Sunday) for the three game weekend series at Wrigley with the Reds.

Tsuyoshi Wada

LHP Tsuyoshi Wada was named PCL Pitcher of the Week (April 3-13) on Monday. Wada is the first I-Cubs pitcher to earn the honor since Chris Rusin (May 7-13, 2012). Wada won both of his starts and allowed one run with one walk and 18 strikeouts (2-0, 0.68 ERA) … 132 of his 187 pitches were strikes according to the release.

Javier Baez

Javier Baez met with reporters prior to Tuesday’s game against New Orleans. Baez told the Des Moines Register he thought he broke his ankle when he landed awkwardly after making a jump throw during infield practice.

According to the report, Baez’s ankle was discolored and Marty Pevey said, “It wasn’t pretty.”

Baez is not able to take batting practice or run while he waits for his ankle to heal. Baez is “spending most of his time in the trainer’s room.” Baez said his back feels great and he “expects big things upon his return.” Baez told the Des Moines Register, “I’ll be more patient at the plate when I come back.”

Javier Baez is eligible to come off the DL on Friday. But Marty Pevey said Baez “could be out five to seven days.”

News, Notes and Rumors

Despite having a depleted farm system, Gordon Wittenmyer reported the Yankees could be landing spots for players like Jeff Samardzija, Emilio Bonifacio, Darwin Barney and James Russell this summer … once the Cubs trading season begins.

With rain pushing both games in the Bronx to Wednesday, Patrick Mooney took a look at all of the storylines that will be packed into the day-night doubleheader.

Kyuji Fujikawa left his first extended spring training outing early according to a report from Arizona Phil. Fujikawa was progressing well in his recovery from Tommy John surgery (May 2013) with a few reports indicating he was ahead of schedule in his rehab. According to Arizona Phil, he retired one batter before giving up a hit and walking a batter. During the at bat of the fourth batter he faced, he called the trainer, pitching coach and translator to the mound. Fujikawa left the game after what Arizona Phil described as a short discussion. The Cubs have not provided an update on Fujikawa’s status.

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