2/13 Hammel, McDonald official; Arrieta hurt
The Cubs officially signed free agent pitchers Jason Hammel and James McDonald on Thursday and may need at least one or both for the rotation because Jake Arrieta will be behind schedule this spring after experiencing some tightness in his right shoulder. Arrieta was projected as the Cubs’ fourth starter this season. GM Jed Hoyer said Thursday that the right-hander had some discomfort when he started throwing in the winter.
“We’ve re-started his throwing program but he’ll be a little bit late into camp as far as throwing bullpens and getting into games,” Hoyer said. “No time tables yet but he is throwing and feeling good now. That was something in the back of our minds as we went through this and added some pitching depth.”
Hammel signed a one-year, $6 million deal while McDonald signed a one-year, $1 million non-guaranteed contract that does include incentives.
Hammel, 31, posted some of the best numbers of his career in 2012, going 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA in 118 innings over 20 starts for the Orioles. He was Baltimore’s Opening Day starter in 2013 but took a step back last season, finishing 7-8 with a 4.97 ERA in 139 1/3 innings over 26 appearances (23 starts). Part of the problem may have been injury as Hammel was on the disabled list because of tenderness in his right forearm.
“He’s a guy who’s had some success in some pretty difficult places,” Hoyer said of Hammel. “He started in Tampa, Went to Colorado and had some success in Coors Field and then obviously had some success in the American League East with Baltimore. We’re excited to get him.”
McDonald, 29, was limited to six games last season with the Pirates because of shoulder issues, and posted a 2-2 record and 5.76 ERA. The right-hander was designated for assignment in September, and outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis but refused that assignment, and elected free agency.
“James is a guy who we’ve really liked the stuff,” Hoyer said. “He’s dealt with some injuries over the last couple years but he worked really hard this winter. We’ve seen him throw a number of times over the course of the winter and he looks healthy.”
– Carrie Muskat