#Cubs notes: spring pitching & more
Cubs fans won’t see the projected starting rotation in the first four Cactus League games as the team eases Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, and John Lackey into spring games.
Travis Wood will start the Cactus League opener Thursday against the Brewers, and Pierce Johnson will start Friday against the Angels in the Cubs’ first home game at Sloan Park. Trevor Cahill will go Saturday against the Reds and Adam Warren get the start Sunday against the D-backs.
Arrieta, Lester and Lackey will be slotted into the spring rotation, beginning March 8.
Kyle Hendricks will follow Wood against the Brewers. Both he and Jason Hammel have the edge over other pitchers competing for spots in the Cubs rotation such as Warren, Cahill and Clayton Richard.
“You just have to keep an open mind, is the best way I can describe it,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Monday.
The Cubs are mindful of the workload many of the pitchers had last season, including Arrieta, who finished the season with 20 quality starts and totaled 229 innings in the regular season.
“By the time they get to the opening bell, they’ll be ready and they’ll be well,” Maddon said.
*Maddon has yet to name the Cubs’ Opening Day starter for the April 4 game against the Angels, but it most likely will be Arrieta, who is coming off a season in which he won 22 games and the National League Cy Young award.
“You can surmise whatever you like — don’t assume — but you can surmise or project or create conjecture, whatever you like to do,” said Maddon, who wanted to meet with the starters first before announcing it.
Arrieta was the Orioles’ Opening Day starter in April 2012.
*The second “Respect Bald” fundraiser will be held Saturday near Field 1 at Sloan Park prior to the Cubs’ game against the Reds. Players and coaches will get their heads shaved to raise money for pediatric cancer research. Fans can get a trim, too, for a $100 donation. The event will begin at 11 a.m. MT.
— Carrie Muskat