Cubs Plan Another Rehab Start for Arrieta and Olt Has a Chance to Be Everyday Third Baseman

The Cubs announced Tuesday night that Jake Arrieta will make at least one more rehab start before he joins the rotation. Arrieta told the beat writers he feels he is ready to be activated from the DL, but the Cubs would like for him to make one “more short start.”

Rick Renteria said “Arrieta’s next start would likely be a shorter outing at a minor league affiliate, the way pitchers have a final tune-up near the end of Spring Training” according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.

Jake Arrieta increased his pitch count from 82 in his third rehab outing to 94 on Monday night but “the Cubs need to get a better read on the 28-year old right hander and how he fits into their long-range plans” according to Patrick Mooney. Arrieta will likely make his next start on Saturday, a day after Carlos Villanueva takes on Matt Garza in opener of the three-game series in Milwaukee.

Arrieta can be on a rehab assignment for 30 days, he made his first start on April 5, so the Cubs have time. The Cubs are in a stretch of 30 games in 31 days with May 1 being the only scheduled off day. Villanueva’s spot in the rotation rolls back around on April 30 in the finale in Cincinnati and if Arrieta is kept on schedule he could start the opener of the three-game series at Wrigley against the Cardinals on May 2.

The Cubs have not said when or where Jake Arrieta will make his “short” rehab start.

Mike Olt

According to a report from the Sun-Times, Mike Olt “is going to get his chance” to be the Cubs starting third baseman. Rick Renteria said “he plans to scrap the third base rotation he’s used since the season started.”

The Cubs have been very cautious with Olt. Renteria said Tuesday night the team’s approach with him has been “calculated” but Renteria now plans “to throw him out there and let him run with it a little bit.”

Mike Olt has started 10 of the Cubs 19 games and he leads the team in home runs (4) and is tied for the team lead in RBI (9).

Pierce Johnson

The Smokies activated RHP Pierce Johnson from the disabled list on Tuesday and he made his first start at the Double-A level on Tuesday night. Johnson was sidelined early in Spring Training with soreness in his hamstring and he began the season on the disabled list.

Johnson pitched four-plus innings on Tuesday and the first four innings went rather well. Johnson left the game with two on and no outs in the fifth after allowing his first run of the night. Ryan Searle replaced Johnson and could not work out of the jam Johnson left him with. Searle struggled again and the Barons ended up scoring eight runs in the fifth inning in route to a 14-3 drubbing of the Smokies.

Pierce Johnson was charged with three runs on four this with four walks and five strikeouts in four-plus innings. Johnson threw 78 pitches, 44 for strikes. While the final line does not look good at least Johnson was able to come off the disabled list and pitch.

Jorge Soler

Jorge Soler has been out since the first game of the season with a right hamstring injury. And the team finally provided an update on Soler.

According to Carrie Muskat, Jorge Soler is rehabbing at the Cubs’ facility in Mesa and “doing some baseball activities” but he is “not ready to play in games in extended Spring Training.”

The Cubs will not rush Soler back and risk losing him for the entire season again.

News and Notes

Kris Bryant extended his on-base streak to 18 games on Tuesday with a 3-for-5 performance at the plate that included a double and a run scored. Bryant is now hitting .311/.440/.590/1.030 in 18 games with five doubles, four home runs and 11 walks.

Bruce Miles posted on Twitter that Jeff Samardzija (4), Jason Hammel (4) and Travis Wood (3) have recorded multiple quality starts this season. The Cubs ERA in quality starts is 2.04 this season.

Starlin Castro is producing at the plate and is playing good defense … and the Cubs see Castro raising his game to the next level according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.

Lester Strode reportedly spent a lot of time working with Jose Veras prior to Tuesday’s game. Veras participated in a towel drill as he tries to work out issues he’s having warming up. According to ESPN Chicago, Veras is not going to give in to failure.

Five current or former D-Cubs are in the Chicago Cubs plans according to a report from Sean Kernan.

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Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax