It’s Good Friday and the last weekend for the Cubs in Arizona. The Cubs have three games at Sloan Park on the Cactus League schedule against the Brewers, Giants and Mariners. Jon Lester gets the ball on Friday afternoon against Jimmy Nelson and the Brewers.
The Cubs won a wild spring game in Scottsdale on Thursday night that had more than its fair share of drama. Jake Arrieta left the game in the first inning because of a blister on his right thumb. Arrieta and the Cubs are not concerned and Arrieta said he will not miss his next spring start.
Arrieta has been dealing with the blister and he considers it a minor issue. Arrieta has not had blister problems in the past but according to the Sun-Times he admitted he had a “blister in a different spot on the thumb last week.”
“It’s just something I need to give a few days and let the skin harden around it, and try to get that thing out of there,” Arrieta said. “Physically everything’s fine.”
Arrieta said he was able to throw a bullpen last week without any problems and he anticipates the same happening this time. His command was affected Thursday by Super Glue that he applied to the blister that kept him from getting a good grip on the baseball. Arrieta left the game before the blister split. He is not viewing this as a setback.
Arrieta made only 34 pitches Thursday night. He was scheduled to throw 80 to 90 and will increase his work in the bullpen session and pitch longer on Tuesday, which will be his last tune-up before Opening Night.
Joe Maddon said he’s not concerned about Arrieta.
“Of course we don’t want to lose him. We don’t want to miss him. But I don’t really think it’s anything awful. I’ve had guys with blisters before, and sometimes you’ve just got to back off him for a couple of days to give it a chance to really heal up. If we have to make an adjustment, we’ll make an adjustment. I’m not worries. For me it’s just about good health with him, and that’s it.”
Jason Heyward, Dexter Fowler and Madison Bumgarner
Tempers flared Thursday night in Scottsdale between the Cubs and Giants in the fourth inning of the exhibition game.
Jason Heyward was called out on strikes with runners on second and third with one out. After the called third, Heyward appeared to stare back at Madison Bumgarner. The lefty thought that was the case and walked off the mound and toward the plate. Heyward quickly diffused the situation. Heyward told Bumgarner he was not looking at him.
Bumgarner was asked about the situation after he left what was a rather poor outing. Bumgarner accused Heyward and Fowler of stealing signs and relaying pitch location. Bumgarner said the two should be more discreet about it.
Heyward explained what happened after he left the game. Heyward was adamant about the fact the Cubs were not stealing signs or tipping pitch location.
Heyward said he was checking with Fowler, who was on second base, if the called third strike was actually a strike. Fowler was being too discreet about it which led to the long stare from Heyward. Fowler said next time he would just give a thumbs up or a thumbs down.
Dexter Fowler told the Sun-Times he “believes the Cubs are going to see more hard play … if not increased hard feelings … all season because of the target the young National League favorites wear this year.”
- Report from the Sun-Times
- Report from the Tribune
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Javier Baez is still dealing with the jammed thumb he suffered diving headfirst into the first base bag last Wednesday. Baez did not play the following Thursday and Friday but was back in the lineup Saturday when the Cubs played the Indians in Goodyear. Baez made several excellent plays in center field.
Baez last played in a game on March 20, four days is a pretty big gap during Spring Training for a young player.
Javier Baez is going to be “out a few more days.”
It’s been a rough spring for Jorge Soler. The young slugger has struggled in just about every phase of the game while showing flashes of what he’s capable of both offensively and defensively. Soler is 6-for-35 with a double, three home runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts.
At times, Soler has looked lost and the base running mistake on Wednesday was simply unacceptable.
Soler was doubled off first base in the second inning. Tim Federowicz hit a deep fly to center that Ian Desmond tracked down and threw back in. With the play in front of him, Soler jogged back to first and did not slide. Soler finished getting his work in Wednesday. Joe Maddon finally addressed the play before Thursday’s game.
Maddon said in his pre-game talk with the beat writers, “It should never happen. I don’t care what time of the year the game is occurring. That should not happen. He had been doing so many good things. His turns at first base had been better, just pure running has been better. Then to make the mistake like that, that just cannot happen. That’s something we really pride ourselves on not making that mistake. Of course it’s more easily absorbed in a Spring Training game and you would like to think that’s not going to happen again. But I don’t like it yesterday. I don’t like it at any point. I don’t like it whenever.”
According to multiple reports, Joe Maddon met with the front office Thursday to discuss the roster and will talk again Friday. The Cubs have not decided to begin the season with 12 or 13 pitchers. Maddon said the Cubs should have the Opening Day roster set when the team leaves Arizona unless injuries prevent final decisions from happening.
The Cubs last spring game in Arizona is Wednesday, March 30. The Cubs play two games in Las Vegas (March 31, April 1) before a day off on April 2. The Cubs last exhibition game is April 3 in Anaheim prior to the season opener on April 4.
News and Notes
• According to the Tribune, Kris Bryant is learning all the angles, including an adjustment on his swing.
• Jeff Passan explained why ‘Grandpa Rossy’ is the most beloved player in the Cubs’ clubhouse.
• Willson Contreras tweeted Thursday after the Cubs exhibition game with the Giants, “I can’t describe how happy do I feel when I play with this amazing team!! Great feeling after an amazing comeback. Good night.”
• Cubs’ prospects Gioskar Amaya and Yasiel Balaguert graduated from the team’s English program.
• The Cubs posted a video to remind the fans to arrive early to the old ballyard due to the new security at Wrigley Field.
This Day in Cubstory
2014 – Cubs signed free agent Tsuyoshi Wada
2011 – Braden Looper voluntarily retired from the Cubs
2008 – Cubs signed free agent Reed Johnson
2004 – Cubs acquired Andy Pratt and Richard Lewis from the Braves for Juan Cruz and Steve Smyth
2001 – Cubs traded Jose Nieves to the Angels for Mike Fyhrie
1985 – A judge ruled laws banning night games at Wrigley Field were constitutional. The Cubs filed a lawsuit after losing a playoff game the year before due to the lack of lights at Wrigley.
1980 – Neal Cotts, born
1969 – Scott Sanders, born
1962 – The Cubs announced Elvin Tappe would be the first manager of the season in the ‘College of Coaches.’
1962 – Jeff Kunkel, born
1945 – Jim Ellis, born
1941 – Pirates purchased Ripper Collins from the Cubs
1922 – Cubs purchased Marty Krug from Seattle (Pacific Coast League) for $7,500
1909 – Dutch Leonard, born
1901 – Denver Grigsby, born
1891 – Polly McLarry, born
1874 – Bill Carney, born
1868 – Frank Dwyer, born