In his new book ‘The Arm,’ Jeff Passan broke the news that Jon Lester has a bone chip in his left elbow. According to the Sun-Times, Lester “seems confident it will remain the non-issue it has been for much of his career.”
The Sun-Times explained that Lester had an MRI after the 2014 season “that produced a largely glowing report on the shoulder and elbow, except that a little grenade floated near his ligament, and at some point it would warrant surgery.”
Gordon Wittenmyer talked to Lester about the bone chip in his elbow and he “was at ease about the subject.” Lester told the Sun-Times he thinks he has “pitched much of his career with the chip and expects to continue to manage it without seeking off-season surgery.” Lester admitted he was surprised to learn about the chip in his elbow. Trainers have suspected “for years he might have something in the elbow.”
Lester said as long as it stays put they “don’t have any worry about it.” If it becomes an issue and he misses starts, Lester said he would “talk to somebody about getting it removed.”
The Cubs saw the same results in the MRI they conducted before finalizing the contract with Lester in December 2014.
Theo Epstein told the Sun-Times, “We did a very thorough exam including imaging of the shoulder and elbow. We were really quite pleased with the results, as Jon compared very favorably with most of the free agent pitchers we have examined and MRI’d over many years. Virtually all pitchers have some wear and tear on their shoulders and elbows, and Jon’s imperfections were very manageable. He remains very consistent, as we hoped, throwing 200-plus quality innings yet again last season.”
The bone chip has had an effect on “Lester early every spring before his arm worked into shape.” The Sun-Times reported last spring’s dead arm issue “was completely unrelated.”
Jon Lester said the bone chip is not bothering him, it’s a non-issue. And he’s taken the philosophy of if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it.
Matt Murton, Tommy La Stella and Matt Szczur
Matt Murton made his spring debut Friday in Glendale. Murton took over in left field in the fourth inning when Jason Heyward was replaced in right field by Albert Almora Jr. Murton went 0-for-2 at the plate.
Tommy La Stella could be getting close to returning to the lineup. La Stella has not played in a game since March 7 dealing with a sore calf. What was described as a minor injury at the time has held him out for nearly two weeks. La Stella looked good in agility work Friday according to the Sun-Times.
Reports from the backfields Friday at the Cubs’ complex indicated Matt Szczur played in a minor league game. The Cubs have not said when Szczur will be ready to play in a Cactus League game.
Carl Edwards Jr.
Carl Edwards Jr. was one of 11 players cut from the Cubs’ spring roster Friday. The Cubs optioned Edwards Jr., Willson Contreras, Pierce Johnson and C.J. Riefenhauser to Triple-A Iowa. Jeimer Candelario was optioned to Double-A Tennessee, for now, and non-roster invitees Stephen Fife, Edgar Olmos, Taylor Davis and Drew Rucinski were re-assigned to minor league camp.
The Cubs moved Carl Edwards Jr. to the bullpen last spring. And that’s where he will stay this season according to Joe Maddon.
Edwards Jr. will begin the season pitching out of Triple-A Iowa’s bullpen. Edwards Jr.’s days as a starter, at least in the Cubs’ organization, appear to be behind him.
Maddon talked to the beat writers about the decision that was made with Edwards Jr.
“Part of it was durability or endurance. Plus, I think people just potentially see a dynamic relief pitcher right there. I do, too. I like it. It’s the right place for him right now. He’s still not fully developed as a Major League player. And when you get to be a good team on the Major League level, that’s what happens to talented guys in the minor leagues.”
Kris Bryant went back to college (Mesa Community College), pretended he was a European transfer and helped the team’s coach pull a prank on his players.
According to John Sickels, Josh Vitters is back in baseball. The former first round draft pick of the Cubs has signed a contract to play with the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Independent Atlantic League.
Vitters signed a minor league contract with the Rockies prior to last season. Vitters was released in Spring Training and did not catch on with another organization.
The Cubs selected the now 26-year old Vitters with the third overall pick in the 2007 draft. Vitters made his Major League debut on Aug. 5, 2012 and he struggled for the remainder of the season in the majors.
Vitters was not able to get out of his own way while he was in the Cubs’ system. Maybe a year away from the game gave him a new perspective and he will be able to catch on with another organization.
News and Notes
• Joe Maddon said Friday that Kyle Schwarber and Jason Hammel “won’t be exclusive pairing” like Jon Lester and David Ross but he does see Schwarber catching Hammel.
• Bernie Pleskoff posted his Spring Training look at the Chicago Cubs.
• According to Jesse Rogers it’s not panic time yet when it comes to Cubs’ closer Hector Rondon. Joe Maddon said he is not concerned about the numbers he is only concerned about his health. Rondon is healthy according to the team and the player.
• The Sun-Times reported it’s a learning process during spring semester at Cubs University.
• According to Mark Simon, Welington Castillo is “not a great strike-getter behind the plate.” Simon took a look at his issues and questions how he will work with Zack Greinke if the Diamondbacks have him catch the team’s new ace.
• The Indians received good news about Michael Brantley and he is set to make his Cactus League debut on Saturday night in Goodyear against the Cubs. Brantley played in a minor league Intrasquad game on Thursday, had two at bats and will be in left field two days later.
• Conflicting reports surfaced Friday night about the severity of the injury to Bronson Arroyo’s rotator cuff or labrum. According to Ken Rosenthal, a doctor misread Arroyo’s MRI. The rotator cuff is okay. Bronson Arroyo is dealing with bursa sac inflammation and will miss seven to 10 days. Mark Zuckerman reported that the Nationals said the reports about Arroyo on Friday night “are not consistent” with their actual findings. The team is meeting with Arroyo and the doctors on Saturday.
• According to a report from Mark Feinsand, Ruben Tejada turned down a minor league deal from the Yankees because he is believed to have a Major League deal in place with another team. The Cardinals have been linked rather heavily to him.
• The Reds released former Cubs’ lefty Jonathan Sanchez.
• Rays’ closer Brad Boxberger had core surgery and will miss at least eight weeks.
• Click here to read Adam LaRoche’s full statement on his retirement from baseball.
• ESPN posted a photo gallery of fathers and sons in MLB clubhouses.
This Day in Cubstory
2002 – Cubs acquired Winston Abreu from the Padres for Keto Anderson
1984 – Cubs released Ferguson Jenkins the day after he announced his retirement from baseball
1977 – David Ross, born
1965 – Cubs radio announcer Jack Quinlan died in a car accident returning from a golf outing during Spring Training.
1955 – Phillies purchased Dave Cole from the Cubs
1947 – Garry Jestadt, born
1931 – Paul Smith, born
1927 – Richie Ashburn, born