Jake Arrieta is not concerned about the blister on his right thumb and neither are the Cubs. But Arrieta may not have enough time to prepare for Opening Day after Thursday’s start was cut short.
Joe Maddon would not guarantee Friday if Jake Arrieta will be on the hill Opening Day.
Arrieta soaked his right thumb in Neosporin overnight Thursday. Arrieta stressed Friday that he is fine, it’s business as usual and he will not only make his next spring start but he would be ready for Opening Day.
Maddon is not as certain as Arrieta about Opening Day.
“Blisters can be funny. Right now we haven’t called off the jam yet. But I’d say we’ll look at it after another day or two and try to make our best determination at that point,” Maddon said. “They can become more chronic, and you don’t want that to happen. Opening Day is very prestigious. However, so is winning The World Series. You definitely want to make the right call.”
Maddon is also concerned about Arrieta’s pitch count. Arrieta made only 34 pitches on Thursday when he was scheduled for 80 to 90. He has built up his pitch count to around 60 pitches this spring. Arrieta was supposed to be backed down for his final tune-up Tuesday. Maddon explained Arrieta “needs to get a legitimate amount of stretching out” before Opening Day for the Cubs “to feel comfortable with it.”
Arrieta doesn’t think the blister will be an issue at all once the Cubs leave the dry air of Arizona.
Jake Arrieta is scheduled to throw a bullpen Saturday. Maddon indicated they would have a better idea of where he stands after his side session.
Updated 12:44pm CDT – Jake Arrieta will throw a bullpen session on Sunday. Cubs said Arrieta will start Tuesday.
Jon Lester appeared to have a really good outing on Friday against the Brewers. Lester tossed five innings of scoreless ball, walked one, gave up two hits and struck out two. Lester pitched around errors from his infielders. Lester did not have to throw to any bases, so those issues did not pop up.
Lester thinks the Cubs have an American League lineup, even with the pitcher hitting. And what makes it “unique is the switch-hitters” and the lefties that can hit left-handed pitching. Lester sees the Cubs creating matchup problems for other teams this season.
The Cubs are not worried about Javier Baez’s left thumb. According to Carrie Muskat, he’s not playing for precautionary reasons.
The Sun-Times reported the Cubs are working on reducing the swelling in his thumb. Joe Maddon said “he expects to load up the young slugger on at bats the final week.”
The Cubs are not “overly concerned” according to the Sun-Times.
Tommy La Stella
One of Joe Maddon’s favorites made his first appearance Friday in a Cactus League since March 7. Tommy La Stella hit for Jon Lester leading off the sixth inning. La Stella worked a very good at bat, walked and scored the first run of the game on a Kris Bryant double.
La Stella stayed in, taking over for Bryant at third base. La Stella was 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored.
The Cubs were one of the teams linked to James Shields throughout the off-season. The Cubs discussions with the Padres, however reportedly focused on Tyson Ross.
The Padres have had top evaluators watching the Cubs minor leaguers on the backfields.
According to Jon Heyman, “a few teams have talked to the Padres about James Shields.” The Orioles and Red Sox have talked to A.J. Preller about starting pitchers. Heyman said Shields would be a logical fit. The Padres are “willing to pay some of Shields’ backloaded deal” depending on the package of players they would receive for the veteran right hander.
Heyman added “nothing is thought to be close.”
Rob Bradford shot down the Red Sox possible interest in Shields. Bradford said the Sox still view Shields as the team did a year ago, he would not be a good fit with the team or at Fenway Park. The Padres continue to scout the Red Sox system rather heavily according to Sean McAdam.
The Padres are willing to trade starting pitching, including James Shields and Tyson Ross, for the right package of young players.
News and Notes
• According to ESPN Chicago, there was “lots of laughter” in the clubhouse Friday about the Madison Bumgarner, Jason Heyward, Dexter Fowler dust up from Thursday night. Several veterans told Jesse Rogers they “don’t do the sign stealing at second base ever.” And the Cubs were adamant that was not the case with the Giants.
• Joel Sherman reported what is becoming a common theme, teams and large sections of the mainstream media do not like the attention the Cubs have received throughout the off-season and Spring Training. The Cubs are raising eyebrows and painting a bullseye on their back according to Sherman.
• Patrick Mooney reported Albert Almora Jr. made a strong impression in Cubs camp.
• Forbes: Kris Bryant, A Bright Cubs’ Star on the Path to Stardom
• Ryan Williams was reassigned to minor league camp as part of the latest round of spring roster cuts on Friday. Williams will pitch in one of the games against the Mets in Las Vegas.
• A construction worker was injured at Wrigley Field on Friday according to a report from the Tribune. The worker was not seriously hurt or trapped when pipes fell on her. She “complained of facial, neck and back pain” and was taken “in good condition to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.”
• Anthony Rizzo answered questions for ESPN Chicago.
• Jon Heyman reported 15 teams will attend Justin Masterson’s showcase Monday in Phoenix.
• Mike Matheny said Yadier Molina is ready for Opening Day. Matheny did not guarantee Molina will be in the starting lineup. Unless something changes, Molina should be behind the plate for the 12th straight time on Opening Day.
• Major League Baseball told players not to use personalized bat stickers anymore according to Hardball Talk.
This Day in Cubstory
2014 – Cubs released George Kottaras
2012 – Cubs signed free agent Shawn Camp
2012 – Cubs released Trever Miller
2008 – Cubs released Alex Cintron
2004 – Cubs released Gabe Molina
1988 – Marcus Hatley, born
1986 – Cubs released Lary Sorensen
1985 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Hector Villanueva
1984 – Cubs acquired Gary Matthews, Bobby Dernier and Porfi Altamirano from the Phillies for Bill Campbell and Mike Diaz.
1984 – Cubs acquired Tim Stoddard from the Athletics for a PTBNL and Stan Kyles. Cubs sent Stan Boderick to the A’s on March 31, 1984 to complete the trade.
1982 – Cubs traded a PTBNL, Paul Mirabella and cash to the Rangers for Bump Wills. The Cubs send Paul Semall to the Rangers on April 21, 1982 to complete the trade.
1982 – Cubs traded Mike Griffin to the Expos for Dan Briggs
1982 – Brendan Ryan, born
1979 – Jason Dubois, born
1973 – Cubs released J.C. Martin
1968 – Jose Vizcaino, born
1895 – Joe Klugmann, born
1889 – Brad Hogg, born
1889 – White Stockings purchased Andy Sommers from the Boston Beaneaters for $500.
1884 – Jimmy Lavender, born
1869 – Jack McCarthy, born