Results tagged ‘ Jake Arrieta ’

2/20 Extra bases

* Jason Hammel is feeling right at home in Cubs camp, even though he’s only been with the team for one week. The right-hander, who signed a free agent contract with the Cubs on Feb. 13, threw about 65 pitches in his first live batting practice session on Thursday.

“His live BP was pretty impressive the time I was over there,” said Cubs manager Rick Renteria, who watched a little of Hammel’s workout. “He was obviously hitting the mitt and his command of the zone was down. He was very composed on the hill. He’s been around a while. He’s looking pretty good.”

Hammel, who was the Orioles’ Opening Day starter last year, said he was able to throw all of his pitches. Pitching coach Chris Bosio helped, too.

“[Bosio] gave me great tips today, giving me some things to work on,” Hammel said. “George Kottaras was my catcher today and we were right on the same page. Overall, the first few days, the week, it’s been great and good so far.”

* For Cubs third base prospect Mike Olt, his first few swings on Wednesday were perfect. Olt had struggled with vision problems, and finally got to face a pitcher instead of a coach throwing batting practice or a machine spewing balls.

“For my first at-bats in a long time, it’s the best I’ve ever felt in Spring Training,” said Olt, who faced right-hander Neil Ramirez. “I’m not even counting last year, but the year before that. I saw the ball really well.”

Acquired from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal, Olt batted .213 at Triple-A Round Rock last season but the Cubs feel they’ve corrected his vision issues. He’s now taking allergy medication, which has helped clear things up for him. Wednesday was his first test against a pitcher.

“I got in the box and I wasn’t sure if I was going to swing or not but I got in there and felt comfortable and saw the ball really well, took a couple swings and I feel like I’m ahead of schedule,” he said.

* Renteria has yet to name his Opening Day starter. Jeff Samardzija got the assignment last year.

* Jake Arrieta, slowed this spring after feeling some tightness in his right shoulder, still has yet to throw off a mound in Cubs camp. The right-hander was projected as the fourth starter but most likely will not be ready by Opening Day.

* Renteria isn’t wasting any time. Infielders, including first baseman Anthony Rizzo and second baseman Darwin Barney, were on the field early Thursday for extra work.

* If fans see extra players at the Cubs facility this week, it’s because there are about some Minor League players taking part in a mini-camp. Among those participating are top prospects third baseman Jeimer Candelario and outfielder Eloy Jimenez.

– Carrie Muskat

2/16 Extra bases: Leadoff, Arrieta and more

* The Cubs have yet to play a game under new manager Rick Renteria, but it appears Starlin Castro is the top candidate to be the leadoff man. Castro has a career .300 average batting first, but also has a career .322 on-base percentage, which would not put in him the top 25 in the National League.

“Starlin has had that role in the past and I think he did a pretty nice job,” Renteria said Sunday. “He’s not what you would consider a typical on-base guy. I think that as he continues to get more and more comfortable, hopefully, this year is a year he recovers some of his confidence and that little edge that he brought and that you guys all saw when he was coming up. he’s an individual that is looking to do well.”

Castro batted .300 in 2010, his rookie season, and followed that with a .307 average in ’11. But last season, he struggled to bat .245.

Renteria is still tinkering with his lineup.

“We have the whole spring to develop a scheme as to who might fall into that role,” he said.

* Jake Arrieta, slowed this spring because of tightness in his right shoulder, is taking part in the Cubs’ pitcher drills but has yet to throw off the mound. Arrieta has been able to play catch and so far, is making progress, manager Rick Renteria said Sunday.

* Renteria, who had hip replacement surgery in October, walked for nearly 45 minutes around the Cubs complex at 5 a.m. MT Sunday as part of his exercise. “The catchers are working early,” Renteria said. “I’m not asking them to be out and do anything I wouldn’t do. [My early work] kind of re-enforces that.”

* Besides Kris Bryant and Brett Jackson, Albert Almora and Josh Vitters also reported to Cubs camp on Sunday. The first full squad workout is Wednesday. “I’ve been pretty impressed with the fact that the numbers are kind of high,” Renteria said of the early birds. “It shows me a lot of interest. First of all, I’m sure they want to see the new facility. … No one is making them be here, they’ve chosen to be here. It’s nice to have them preparing for what will hopefully be a very good season.”

* Pitchers who threw their second side sessions on Sunday included Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Justin Grimm, Kyle Hendricks, Blake Parker, and James McDonald. Renteria said he likes what he’s seen so far.

“Their energy is high,” Renteria said. “I’m hoping the tone that is set now will continue when the [position] players come in.”

– Carrie Muskat

2/14 Arrieta update

Jake Arrieta says he has no pain or discomfort now, and is taking a cautious approach as he prepares for the season. When he’ll be ready has yet to be determined. The right-hander felt some discomfort in his shoulder a few weeks ago and will be held out of some spring workouts at the start of camp.

“I was stretched out pretty good, throwing long toss for three weeks,” Arrieta said of when he first felt the pain. “It could’ve been doing a little too much. I tend to get a little eager. I try to push the envelope a little early. That’s what I’m banking on is [the problem was] trying to get going too soon. Now that I’m backed off and able to take it slower, step by step now, moving the process a little slower.”

He’s been able to play catch in Arizona for a few weeks and has no pain.

“It’ll be a slower progression but it’ll put me in place to accomplish the goals we set to accomplish,” he said. “I just have to be patient at this point in time.”

The Cubs said Thursday they are not counting on Arrieta to start the season. He did not need to undergo an MRI on his shoulder.

“I think we’ll have a much better understanding as we progress,” Arrieta said. “I think the main thing right now is to be cautious and to make sure I’m around for the long haul rather than try to rush things and progress a little too quickly and maybe have a setback at some point. The structure will be progressive but slow at the start to make sure we don’t have any setbacks.”

– Carrie Muskat

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

9/25 Cubs 4, Pirates 2

The Pirates may be headed to the postseason but the Cubs were able to celebrate one more win at home Wednesday. Darnell McDonald hit a pair of doubles and a tiebreaking three-run homer to lift the Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the Pirates and close the home portion of their schedule on a positive note in front of 26,171 at Wrigley Field.

After the final out, the Cubs players and coaches tipped their caps and waved to the fans from in front of the dugout to say goodbye.

“It was a nice gesture,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “It hasn’t been a good season, but it’s nice to see the fans come out and to win the last game was nice.”

The Cubs had not beaten Pirates starter Francisco Liriano in four previous meetings, but with the game tied at 1 in the sixth, Donnie Murphy singled and Junior Lake walked to set up McDonald’s first home run since April 30, 2012. Despite their struggles this season, the Cubs lead the National League in home runs on their home turf with 102. McDonald had doubled to lead off the fourth but was easily thrown out on a bad baserunning move as he tried to advance to third on Ryan Sweeney’s fielder’s choice.

“I definitely wanted to atone for that,” McDonald said.

The Cubs would like to make up for this season. They finished 31-50 at Wrigley Field, setting a franchise record for most losses at home in a season. There were some gaffes Wednesday as Pedro Alvarez reached third on shortstop Starlin Castro’s error in the Pirates fourth, but also some highs as Murphy ended the inning with a leaping catch of Clint Barmes’ liner, then stepped on third for the double play.

Cubs starter Jake Arrieta, acquired in July from the Orioles in the Scott Feldman deal, is vying for a spot in the 2014 rotation. The right-hander gave up one run on four hits over six innings, and was able to escape the messes.

“There are going to be jams in the course of the game,” Sveum said. “The difference between guys who have a good season and sustain innings is guys who get out of those jams.”

In nine starts with the Cubs, Arrieta held opponents to a .185 batting average, striking out 37 over 51 2/3 innings. He credited the change of scenery as well as the Cubs coaching staff, beginning at Triple-A Iowa with pitching coach Mike Mason, for the improvement.

“I just feel more confident and more prepared to put together quality starts and quality outings than I was in the past,” Arrieta said. “I think that will show dividends.”

Liriano had given up four runs over 29 innings in his four previous outings against the Cubs, and on Wednesday, was charged with four runs over five-plus innings.

“We just got some balls to fall,” McDonald said of the difference against the Pirates lefty. “Liriano’s tough. He almost no-hit us the last time out. Guys got some hits early, and when you get hits, it breeds confidence in the lineup. You can’t make many mistakes against good teams and good pitchers like that. Fortunately, we were able to overcome mistakes and get the win.”

The Pirates have secured a postseason berth, but they are still jockeying for position with the Cardinals and Reds, who were eliminated from winning the NL Central with a loss Wednesday to the Nationals. The Cubs find themselves still playing a minor role as they head to St. Louis for the final three games of the season.

“We still have three games left and obviously it’s not looking good for Cincinnati and Pittsburgh right now [to win the division], but hopefully we can help them out and win Friday and see what happens the next two days,” Sveum said.

They can definitely learn from watching the Pirates.

“We’re trying to get to where these teams are at that we’re playing down the stretch,” McDonald said. “We’re watching how they go about their business, how they play the game. It’s important for us as a young team. I think every one of us in here wants to finish the season strong.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/25 Cubs lineup vs. Pirates

The Cubs play their final home game of the season on Wednesday against the Pirates at Wrigley Field. Here is the lineup:

Castro SS
Barney 2B
Rizzo 1B
Murphy 3B
Lake LF
McDonald RF
Sweeney CF
Boscan C
Arrieta P

9/19 Cubs 5, Brewers 1

Jake Arrieta’s extended audition for the Cubs’ 2014 rotation went very well Thursday. Nate Schierholtz hit a two-run homer and Luis Valbuena and Brian Bogusevic each added solo shots to back Arrieta, who gave up three hits over seven innings in the Cubs’ 5-1 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park, snapping a five-game losing streak.

Acquired from the Orioles in July in the Scott Feldman deal, Arrieta walked leadoff batter Norichika Aoki, then retired 11 straight before Aramis Ramirez singled with two outs in the fourth. The right-hander retired the next seven batters he faced before Carlos Gomez spoiled the shutout bid with a leadoff home run in the seventh on an 0-1 pitch. Two outs later, Jeff Bianchi doubled for the third hit off Arrieta.

“Everything was working really really well,” Dale Sveum said of the outing by Arrieta. “He hung one cutter to Gomez, but other than that, there was weak contact. … That was a pretty impressive outing.”

This was Arrieta’s eighth start with the Cubs, and it was his longest outing since he threw seven shutout innings against the Cardinals on Aug. 16.

“He was throwing filthy stuff,” Gomez said of the right-hander. “The fastball was explosive, had good sink. He commanded the curve really good. He’s got good stuff. I don’t know why he was never more successful most of his career. This guy’s going to be good.”

The emphasis was on keeping the ball down and having command of his pitches.

“I told [pitching coach Chris Bosio] after the game, I feel like I just threw my pre-game ‘pen, and I could’ve gone another 100 pitches, that’s how good I felt today as far as controling the game and my effort,” Arrieta said.

The knock on the right-hander has been a lack of command but he not only showed he could control his cutter/slider and two-seam fastball but also had a good curveball.

“You have to get that [command] established as early as possible and not allow hitters to eliminate pitches and today they weren’t able to do that,” Arrieta said. “You saw a lot of below average swings and a lot of guys were just off balance and not able to anticipate what I was coming at them with. That’s one of the big things I have to do as a starter to try to pitch deep in the games is keep them off balance and get them to pitch to contact early.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/19 Cubs lineup

Jake Arrieta closes the Cubs’ series against the Brewers on Thursday at Miller Park. Here’s the lineup:

Castro SS
Valbuena 3B
Rizzo 1B
Schierholtz RF
Sweeney CF
Castillo C
Lake LF
Watkins 2B
Arrieta P

9/13 Cubs lineup

Jake Arrieta takes the mound Friday at PNC Park as the Cubs play Game 2 of their four-game series against the Pirates. Pittsburgh is currently tied for first in the NL Central with St. Louis. Here is the lineup:

Castro SS
Valbuena 3B
Rizzo 1B
Navarro C
Schierholtz RF
Sweeney CF
Bogusevic LF
Barney 2B
Arrieta P

9/11 Cubs vs. Pirates

Looking ahead, the Cubs will travel to Pittsburgh for a four-game series against the Pirates, starting Thursday. The team is going with a six-man rotation to give Scott Baker two more starts. Here are the pitching matchups:

Thursday: LHP Chris Rusin (2-3, 2.89) vs. LHP Jeff Locke (9-5, 3.23)
Friday: RHP Jake Arrieta (2-2, 4.28) vs. RHP Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.44)
Saturday: RHP Scott Baker (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Gerrit Cole (7-7, 3.48)
Sunday: LHP Travis Wood (9-11, 3.05) vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (16-7, 2.92)

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