Results tagged ‘ Jake Arrieta ’

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

4/21 Jake Arrieta update

As of now, Carlos Villanueva stays in the Cubs rotation but Jake Arrieta is getting close to returning to the big league team. Arrieta, who was slowed this spring with tightness in his right shoulder, made his fourth Minor League rehab start on Monday, pitching for Class A Daytona. He gave up five runs — three earned — on five hits, including three homers, over 5 2/3 innings for Daytona against Clearwater. Arrieta struck out seven, including the last two batters he faced in the sixth.

He has made three starts for Double-A Tennessee but the Cubs wanted Arrieta pitching in warm weather and to go about 100 pitches on Monday. Will a start at Class A be enough to prep Arrieta for the big leagues?

“I think the intensity level that everybody has when they’re down on rehabs, everybody’s different,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “Some guys don’t think about it too much and just focus on what they’re doing. Some guys see it as kind of being lax because it’s a different arena.

“In his case, he’s a guy who goes out there and knows he has to command and stay clean in his delivery and hit his spots,” Renteria said. “It might be a little different for pitchers than position players.”

Renteria said they don’t know if Arrieta will need another rehab start after Monday until they see how he responds from the outing. The right-hander most likely will make one more Minor League start before he’s activated.

Villanueva is 1-2 with a 10.66 ERA in three starts, and will go to the bullpen when Arrieta returns.

– Carrie Muskat

4/19 Arrieta update

Jake Arrieta, slowed this spring by tightness in his right shoulder, will make another rehab start on Monday for Class A Daytona, and hopes that is his last tune-up before he’s ready to rejoin the Cubs. Arrieta has made three rehab starts with Double-A Tennessee but the Cubs are having him start for Daytona in hopes of finding some warmer weather. In his last outing, Arrieta went 5 2/3 innings, and said he’d like to throw 100 pitches on Monday.

“I want to get out there and get up to 100 pitches and kind of fine tune and refine some things and hopefully that’ll be the last stop,” Arrieta said.

– Carrie Muskat
*

4/18 Arrieta making progress

Jake Arrieta may be one start away from getting back to the big leagues. The Cubs right-hander will make at least one more rehab start with Triple-A Iowa early next week, and could then be ready to start for the big league team. Arrieta had tightness in his right shoulder when Spring Training began, and did not pitch in any Cactus League games. He has made three rehab starts for Double-A Tennessee, and given up one earned run on six hits and four walks over 12 1/3 innings. In his last outing on Wednesday, he went 5 2/3 innings. Arrieta was in Chicago on Friday to throw a side session for Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio, so he could evaluate the pitcher’s progress.

3/22 Pitching notes

* Looking ahead, pitching-wise, Jeff Samardzija will make his final spring start on Wednesday against the jet-lagged Diamondbacks in Scottsdale. Arizona has already opened the season with a game in Australia.

* Travis Wood will start the Cubs’ home opener on April 4.

“It’ll be exciting for sure, even though Pittsburgh is a great place to pitch,” said Wood, who had been expected to follow Jeff Samardzija in the rotation.

Isn’t Wrigley Field a good place?

“Wrigley’s fine,” Wood said, laughing. “It’ll be cold either place, so it’s not like the weather will be different. The place will be packed, it’ll be jumping, it’ll be nice.”

Rick Renteria said they made the decision because of matchups. Wood has made three starts against the Phillies, and held them to five runs on 13 hits over 21 1/3 innings.

* The Cubs are still trying to fill the fifth spot in the rotation. The candidates include Carlos Villanueva, Chris Rusin and Tsuyoshi Wada. Villanueva, a valuable swingman, will start Monday against the Padres, while Wada will start Tuesday against the Angels. Rusin, who threw five shutout innings on Friday against the White Sox, is a possibility, but the Cubs may pick Villanueva because of his versatility and the fact they have four off days in the first three weeks of games. If the other four starters stay on a five-day rotation, Villanueva could slide into the bullpen until needed.

Renteria didn’t tip his hand on Saturday when asked about the fifth spot.

“They’re all still in the mix,” he said. “They’re all going out there and doing a nice job.”

* The Cubs had projected Jake Arrieta as the fifth starter but he’s been slowed this spring because of tightness in his right shoulder. On Sunday, Arrieta was scheduled to throw a bullpen.

“I’m hoping the next step is a game,” he said Saturday. “We’ll talk things over and see where we stand.”

* Cubs fans will get a chance to see two of the top pitching prospects on Tuesday when C.J. Edwards and Eric Jokisch pitch against the Padres. Edwards, 22, was a combined 8-2 with a 1.86 ERA in 24 games with Class A Hickory and Daytona last season. The Cubs acquired him in the Matt Garza deal. Jokisch, 24, was 11-13 with a 3.42 ERA at Double-A Tennessee in 2013.

– Carrie Muskat

3/20 Extra bases

* Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta, slowed this spring because of tightness in his right shoulder, will throw two innings in a simulated game on Friday. Arrieta said he is on schedule in his rehab. Projected for the fifth spot in the Cubs rotation, Arrieta is back on a regular routine, and that’s helped, too.

“For me, that’s very important, so I can approach each day as I would throughout the season and get into that routine,” he said.

* James McDonald was feeling better after coming out of his last start with soreness in his right shoulder. McDonald threw two pitches on Monday before he was lifted because of discomfort.

* The Cubs have traded outfielder Trevor Gretzky, son of hockey legend, Wayne Gretzky, to the Angels for Matthew Scioscia, who is manager Mike Scioscia’s son. Matthew, 25, batted .194 at three Minor League levels last season, while Gretzky, 21, hit .274 at short-season Boise and Class A Kane County. Angels general manager Jerry DiPoto told reporters the deal gives the two players a “new opportunity.”

* Travis Wood, scheduled to follow Jeff Samardzija in the Cubs rotation, will tune up with a start in the Minor League camp on Friday, facing the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A team. Wood, 27, has given up seven runs on 14 hits and one walk over 10 2/3 innings, striking out 11.

* The Cubs assigned left-handed pitcher Tommy Hottovy to Minor League camp on Thursday, reducing the spring camp roster to 44. Hottovy, 32, had appeared in three spring games, and given up one hit and one walk, while striking out five.

* The Cubs wives will host a mystery baseball charity event on Saturday at Cubs Park to raise money for Paz de Cristo in Mesa, which helps feed, clothe and empower those in need in the east valley. Fans can purchase an autographed ball for $30. There also will be game-used bats, jerseys and other equipment for sale. The wives will be set up near the left field gate, inside Cubs Park.

– Carrie Muskat

3/16 Arrieta update

In Mesa, Jake Arrieta threw 30 pitches in a simulated game Sunday without feeling any effects of the stiff right shoulder that has sidelined him this spring. The right-hander threw another 30-35 pitches in the bullpen before taking the mound on the Cubs’ practice field and facing batters.

Should Arrieta not feel any unusual soreness Monday, he says the next step is throwing a live BP session early in the week. He’s hopeful to get in a Cactus League game soon.

“It’s just a week or two setback — two starts,” Arrieta said. “I think in the grand scheme of things it’s really not that big of an issue. It would have been nice to not miss these couple weeks, but I think health is the biggest priority.”

Arrieta threw all of his pitches during the sim game and seemed to have no complaints about how the outing went. He was specifically pleased with the numbers on the radar gun.

“Today was really good,” he said. “Everything felt crisp. I feel like the strength was good, the velocities were good. Those are all good signs.”

3/14 Extra bases

The Cubs optioned right-handed pitcher Dallas Beeler to Triple-A Iowa on Friday and assigned right-hander Marcus Hatley to the Minor League camp. The moves reduced the spring roster to 54 players. On Wednesday, the Cubs optioned infielders Arismendy Alcantara and Logan Watkins and outfielder Matt Szczur to Iowa, and optioned outfielder Jorge Soler to Double-A Tennessee. Five other non-roster invitees have been assigned to Minor League camp besides Hatley. They include right-handed pitcher Carlos Pimentel, left-handed pitcher Eric Jokisch, infielders Kris Bryant and Jeudy Valdez, and outfielder Albert Almora.

The Cubs’ spring roster consists of 27 pitchers (seven non-roster invitees), five catchers (three non-roster invitees), 11 infielders (four non-roster invitees) and 11 outfielders (five non-roster invitees).

* Jason Hammel has been spending too much time in the Minor League camp.

“[Anthony] Rizzo just came up and said, ‘Are you afraid to pitch in big league games?’” Hammel said, laughing.

That’s because Hammel has made just one Cactus League start, but has pitched in a “B” game and went six innings Thursday against Cubs Minor Leaguers to stay on schedule. The right-hander is used to prepping on the back fields.

“My first year with the [Orioles], because Florida Spring Training is all [American League] East, I didn’t pitch in a big league game until we’d been through two or three rounds of cuts,” Hammel said. “As long as I can get my work in and make sure I’m building the arm strength, I’m OK.”

On Thursday, he gave up eight hits, did not walk a batter and struck out four over six innings, throwing 75 pitches.

“I’m way ahead of schedule, going from three to six [innings],” Hammel said. “Everything felt good, I felt strong. I didn’t feel fatigued at all and I got my work in.”

The Minor League players were aggressive.

“For three innings, they were swinging at everything,” Hammel said. “I made the adjustment so it gave me the opportunity to start throwing breaking balls early in counts and I was able to throw a lot of stuff.”

Hammel’s next outing, by the way, will be Tuesday, and the only downside about that is he’ll have to make the long drive to Surprise to face the Rangers in a night game.

* The Cubs’ Mike Olt will play first base again on Saturday, but soon he’ll switch to the other side of the infield. Olt has been limited to first base and designated hitter duties to avoid aggravating his right shoulder, which has been tender. It’s not bothering his hitting. On Wednesday, he belted two home runs and hit a RBI single against the Mariners.

“He got brushed back pretty good, up and in, and then they threw him down and in, mid belt, and then he ended up stroking another knock,” Renteria said of Olt, who apparently is seeing the ball just fine and over the vision problems he had in the past.

“All things being equal, I think he’s coming along and showing everybody he’s back on track and who he was in the past,” Renteria said of Olt, who was a highly touted prospect with the Rangers, and whom the Cubs acquired last July in the Matt Garza deal.

* Jake Arrieta threw a side session on Wednesday, his third of the spring, and hoped to face hitters in a live batting practice outing his next time. Arrieta has been slowed because of tightness in his right shoulder. He’s been frustrated at being sidelined.

“The competitor in me wants to go [full tilt] but the more thought out side of me knows this is the right thing to do to be a little slower and make sure everything is where it needs to be,” Arrieta said. “You want to be functioning for a long season.”

– Carrie Muskat

2/28 Extra bases

* Darwin Barney has been working a lot with Cubs hitting coach Bill Mueller and on Friday, the second baseman went 2-for-2 in his first spring game, hitting a solo home run in the fourth.

“I feel I can repeat what I’m doing up there and that’s the goal,” said Barney, who batted .208 last season. “It’s Day One and it’s a long spring ahead and a lot of work to be done.”

Barney isn’t being counted on to hit home runs — he matched his career high last season with seven.

“I’m trying to stay short and hit line drives,” he said. “My swing allowed me to do that and I’m happy about that. It’s early, it’s just one pitch. I’ve got a lot of work to do.”

* Mike Olt, slowed this spring because of tenderness in his right shoulder, has yet to play third base and Cubs manager Rick Renteria said the team is taking a precautionary approach.

“He’s throwing fine and he’s been working at all the positions getting himself ready,” Renteria said Friday of Olt, who has been limited to designated hitter so far.

Olt, who battled vision problems last season, was scheduled to start at DH on Saturday night against the Diamondbacks.

* After more than 50 days without rain in the Phoenix area, Saturday’s forecast calls for showers. The Cubs’ contingency plan is to use the batting cages at their complex to get work done.

“We’ll deal with it as it comes,” Renteria said.

* Jake Arrieta continues to throw off flat ground and is making progress. Arrieta has been slowed this spring by tightness in his right shoulder, which he felt in the offseason before reporting to Arizona.

* Cubs fans eager to see top prospects Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant might want to go to Saturday’s game against the Diamondbacks in Scottsdale. Both are scheduled to start. Bryant hit his first spring homer in his first at-bat on Friday.

– Carrie Muskat

2/26 Extra bases

* Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ Minor League pitcher of the year in 2013, retired all eight batters he faced in Wednesday’s intrasquad game. The right-hander was a combined 13-4 at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa combined last season.

“He’s probably put himself on everybody’s radar by the way he went about his business last year,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “It doesn’t hurt anybody to come out and do well.”

Justin Ruggiano, Welington Castillo and Christian Villanueva each hit solo home runs and Junior Lake hit a RBI single in the intrasquad game, which the “home” team won, 5-3. Jorge Soler walked, stole second and scored on Ryan Kalish’s single for the tie-breaking run in the fifth.

* Mike Olt did not play third base on Wednesday but was able to get an at-bat as the designated hitter, and drew a walk in the fifth. He said his right arm is a little tender, and the soreness is not unusual.

“It’s how it is every year,” Olt said. “It hasn’t bothered my swing.”

Acquired from the Rangers last July in the Matt Garza deal, Olt is a candidate for the Cubs’ third base job. He was scheduled to be the designated hitter on Thursday in the Cubs’ Cactus League opener.

* Second baseman Darwin Barney has been working a lot with new hitting coach Bill Mueller in hopes of getting back on track after batting .208 last season.

“We’re happy with where we’re at right now and feeling comfortable,” Barney said. “We feel we have a solid game plan, so we’ll keep continuing to move forward with that. I feel good to go. I feel mechanically sound. I feel like I’m getting results off the bat that I want and hopefully I can carry that forward.”

* Welington Castillo was the designated hitter on Wednesday in the intrasquad game in an effort to give him at-bats. Castillo had arthroscopic knee surgery in mid September and was slowed a little this spring because of his groin. So far, he’s passed all the tests.

“I think everybody is assured he’s completely healed and recovered,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “Like anything, we need to make sure we’re giving him the load of work he needs to get him into the season and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Castillo showed his swing is just fine as he led off the fourth inning with a home run off lefty Tsuyoshi Wada.

* Arodys Vizcaino, who has not pitched since 2011 after needing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, threw one inning in the intrasquad game, and walked two and gave up one hit.

“I’m just hoping his health continues to not be an issue,” Renteria said. “His arm is live. [The ball] comes out of there pretty easy. It looks like he’s using his secondary pitches in live [batting practice] the way he wants to. If he wants to bury a pitch he does it, if he wants to go off the corners he can.”

* Jake Arrieta is throwing from flat ground, and continuing to make progress this spring. Arrieta, who was projected for the Cubs starting rotation, was slowed because of tightness in his right shoulder.

* Matt Szczur made a great catch in left field in the intrasquad game Wednesday, but had a bloody right wrist to show for it. He didn’t let up just because it was intrasquad.

“There’s only one way to play,” he said.

– Carrie Muskat

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 247 other followers