4/22 Extra bases

* Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta will likely make one more Minor League rehab start before he’s ready to rejoin the big league team. Arrieta, slowed this spring by tightness in his right shoulder, made his fourth rehab start on Monday for Class A Daytona and threw 94 pitches over 5 2/3 innings.

“I felt really good,” he said Tuesday at Wrigley Field. “I was uncomfortable throughout the first couple [innings] but settled in nicely as things went on and started to feel like I knew how to get some of those guys out. I got to 94 pitches and that was where the mark was and I feel really good today.”

The last outing of Spring Training for starting pitchers is usually a shorter one, and that’s where Arrieta is in his progression. With Arrieta still needing time to rehab, Carlos Villanueva will stay in the rotation, manager Rick Renteria said.

* Jose Veras had a long side session with bullpen coach Lester Strode on Tuesday as the Cubs try to get the right-hander back on track to resume his role as the closer.

“He needs to pitch,” manager Rick Renteria said of Veras. “He wants to get back out there on the hill and throw. We’ll do everything we can to get him some work.”

One of the problems with Veras may be that he isn’t warming up well, which is why Strode was working with the right-hander.

“I’m sure we haven’t seen the very best of him,” Renteria said of Veras. “We do want to get him back and we’ll do everything we can to put him in the game and get him to throw.”

* Theo Epstein supported Renteria’s decision to call a team meeting after last Friday’s game.

“It’s a matter of striking the right balance between keeping an even keel and also being attentive when our standards slip in certain areas,” Epstein said. “It’s always a tricky balance but Ricky has a good feel for the pulse of the team and isn’t afraid to address things as they come up.”

Epstein and Renteria know they have to be careful as to when they time the sessions.

“You can’t call meetings after every frustrating game or series,” Epstein said. “It’s a matter of striking the right balance.”

* Cubs prospect Jorge Soler, sidelined with a sore right hamstring, is rehabbing at the team’s complex in Mesa, Ariz., and doing some baseball activities. However, Soler is not ready to play in games in extended Spring Training. Soler appeared in one game for Double-A Tennessee and hit a double, then had to leave the game because of the hamstring injury. The Cubs will take their time to avoid having Soler aggravate the injury.

– Carrie Muskat

4 Comments

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This scenario is reminiscent of last season when Sveum declared of Marmol, ” He has to pitch.” No, he did not. Not if he can`t give us something positive. Same deal here. Veras does not have to pitch if he is going to stink it up. I`m all for putting him in blowout games whether we are ahead or behind in those contests, but do not fancy using him in a close contest where the outcome is in doubt. Also, starting Villanueva in another game is tantamount to conceding that game to the opposition.

Very concerned about Soler at this point. What was to be a week off has turned into 3 weeks and counting with no timetable to return. On its own, not so alarming. But considering last year’s injury was originally 3-4 weeks but instead it was the rest of the season I’m concerned about his ability to recover and to stay healthy. He’s had one AB above single A ball, while those he came with and was compared to have excelled at the big league level – Cespedes and Puig. I’m not throwing in the towel on the guy but I see red flags.

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