The Cubs posted the starting pitchers for the second week of Cactus League games. And Joe Maddon will run out Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jason Hammel for the first time this spring.
Adam Warren makes his Cubs debut on Sunday in Scottsdale against the Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields. Monday is one of two split squad days for the Cubs. Jason Hammel gets the start against the Royals at Sloan Park. Aaron Brooks will face the Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale.
Kyle Hendricks makes his second appearance of the spring on Tuesday when the Cubs host the Dodgers at Sloan Park. The Cubs are flip-flopping Hendricks and Wood on Tuesday. Travis Wood will follow Hendricks in the day’s pitching rotation.
Jake Arrieta squares off against the Indians at Sloan Park on Wednesday. Jon Lester is scheduled to face the Mariners in Peoria on Thursday. And John Lackey will make his Cubs’ debut on Friday against the Reds at Sloan Park.
The Cubs said that Arrieta, Lester and Lackey would be eased into Cactus League games. All three starters should complete two innings the first time out and build from there. With the Cubs lining up Lester and Lackey behind Arrieta that is likely the way Maddon’s rotation will setup when the season begins on April 4.
Jake Arrieta said he feels great this spring coming off just an incredible season. Arrieta completed a career-high 229 innings in the regular season and another 19 2/3 innings in the post-season. Arrieta admitted he ran out of gas in the NLDS and NLCS but said he will be better prepared both mentally and physically this season for an extra month of games.
Jon Lester completed 205 innings, the seventh time since 2008 that he completed 200 or more innings in a single season. Lester had another 14 innings in two playoff games. The Cubs are also being cautious with the 32-year old lefty’s workload this spring.
John Lackey is coming off a career high in innings pitched. Lackey finished 218 innings and another 10 1/3 innings in two starts versus the Cubs in the NLDS.
As long as there are no hiccups in the exhibition games, the Cubs will begin the season with Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and John Lackey as the first three pitchers in the rotation.
Joe Maddon basically said the fourth and fifth spots in his Opening Day rotation are Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks jobs to lose. Adam Warren could push for a starting job, but he’s likely to begin the season in the bullpen and used for multiple innings at a time.