Jake Arrieta got his work in Saturday in a minor league game against the Rockies at the Cubs’ facility. Arrieta completed five innings on one of the backfields and reportedly looked very good in what was his third outing of the spring. Arrieta allowed two hits, no runs and struck out four.
Arrieta made 60 pitches, at one point throwing 22 of 26 pitches for strikes, and is scheduled to make his next start in five days against the Giants in Scottsdale (March 24). Arrieta will throw 80-90 pitches and then back it down for his final Cactus League tune-up against the Athletics on March 29.
Miguel Montero caught Arrieta Saturday and said “everything was sharp” with good fastball command. Montero also liked his changeup, a pitch Arrieta used at the end of last season and will again this year.
Jake Arrieta said after the game he could have thrown another 20-30 pitches. He’s pretty close to being ready for Opening Day.
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from the Tribune
- Video from the Tribune
- Report from the Sun-Times
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
Tommy La Stella
Tommy La Stella batted, but did not run the bases, in Saturday’s minor league game started by Jake Arrieta. La Stella had three hits in four at bats, all reportedly line drives.
Joe Maddon said Saturday that La Stella “has plenty of time to get ready for the season.” La Stella has been sidelined for the last two weeks with what at the time was reported as a mild calf injury.
La Stella was not allowed to run the bases Saturday. And he hasn’t played in the field since March 7.
Maddon thinks La Stella will be able to play in Cactus League games by midweek.
Javier Baez was back in the lineup Saturday night. Baez did not play Thursday or Friday after jamming his left thumb diving into the first base bag in Wednesday’s game. Baez started in center and turned in three good plays in the field.
According to the Sun-Times, Baez’s thumb was not injured bad enough to keep him out of a regular season game.
Maddon and the coaching staff talked to Baez about sliding headfirst into any base, much less first. Baez said he knows “it’s not a good thing for any hitter, you will hurt yourself probably 60 percent of the time.” Baez said he was reacting to the moment but “learned it can be pretty dangerous.”
Baez had three plate appearances Saturday night. Baez was a loud 0-for-2 with a walk.
Matt Szczur and Shane Victorino
Matt Szczur played in Saturday’s minor league game that Jake Arrieta started. Szczur told Mark Gonzales after the game he felt fine and is targeting Tuesday to make his spring debut in a Cactus League game.
Szczur is out of options and will not pass through waivers if the Cubs decided a player like Shane Victorino would be a better fit on the bench to start the season.
Shane Victorino was expected back in the lineup last Monday. Victorino has not been able to play due to a calf injury. Victorino is not ready to return but Maddon is not worried about the veteran outfielder.
According to the Sun-Times, Victorino “remains at least several days away from returning from a sore calf.” Maddon told the Sun-Times that Victorino “doesn’t need a lot of game time or to prove much.” The Cubs know what Victorino is capable of he just needs to show he is healthy.
As expected, the Cardinals signed INF Ruben Tejada to a one-year contract. Tejada turned down a minor league contract with the Yankees for a Major League deal with St. Louis.
According to Joel Sherman, Tejada will be paid $1.5 million. Tejada was due to make $3 million this season with the Mets. When the Mets let him go, Tejada received $500,000 termination pay.
Tejada and Jedd Gyorko are expected to receive a bulk of the playing time at shortstop until Jhonny Peralta returns. Gyorko isn’t known as the best defensive player. The Cardinals have a knack of turning liabilities into more than serviceable players in the field.
According to Jon Heyman, the Cardinals feel Aledmys Diaz needs more developmental time at Triple-A Memphis. As Joel Sherman pointed out, the Mets likely helped a team they will be competing with for a spot in the post-season tournament.
News and Notes
• According to ESPN Chicago, Kyle Schwarber’s long-term role with the Cubs is coming into focus.
• John Lackey will keep to his five-day schedule and pitch in a minor league game Monday. The Cubs only day off on the Cactus League schedule is Monday which means Miguel Montero will at least catch Lackey’s start.
• Mark Gonzales reported Cubs veterans are constructive with younger players not destructive.
• Bill Mitchell was on the backfields Saturday at the Cubs’ complex … and Donnie Dewees smoked a homer over the fence in right. Mitchell tweeted, “Compact stroke, good bat speed, ball got out in a hurry.”
• The Cubs hosted a RBI Junior All-Star team from Chicago. The Cubs flew the team in and they arrived Friday, played an Arizona RBI team at Sloan Park on Saturday, worked out with the Cubs on Saturday afternoon and attended the game between the Cubs and Indians on Saturday night.
• The Nationals confirmed a partial tear in Bronson Arroyo’s rotator cuff. Arroyo has been shut down for 10-14 days and will be sidelined at least four to six weeks.
• RHP Rafael Soriano officially retired from baseball. Soriano issued a statement Saturday confirming he is calling it a career.
• The Braves claimed LHP Jesse Biddle off waivers from the Pirates. Biddle was DFA’d to make room on the Pirates roster for David Freese.
• The MLBPA is monitoring the Adam LaRoche case, but there hasn’t been a decision made yet on whether or not a grievance will be filed against the White Sox.
This Day in Cubstory
2014 – Cubs traded Trevor Gretzky to the Angels for Matt Scioscia
2003 – Cubs released Tim Christman
1983 – Cubs released Allen Ripley
1979 – Cubs acquired Steve Dillard from the Tigers for a PTBNL. Cubs sent Ed Putnam to the Tigers on March 24, 1979 to complete the trade.
1977 – Cubs signed free agent Joe Decker
1971 – Manny Alexander, born
1954 – Cubs traded Roy Smalley to the Braves for David Cole and cash. Trading Smalley opened a spot a shortstop for Ernie Banks.
1933 – George Altman, born
1927 – Jim Willis, born
1912 – Clyde Shoun, born
1893 – Johnny Butler, born
1888 – Albert Spalding announced a baseball tour to Australia would take place the following winter with his Chicago team and a squad of National League All-Stars
1867 – Emil Geiss, born