The next steps for Eloy Jimenez after Cubs shut down top prospect

The next steps for Eloy Jimenez after Cubs shut down top prospect

MESA, Ariz. – The Cubs spun it as a positive for elite prospect Eloy Jimenez, the MRI and CT scan revealing a bone bruise and no structural damage to his right shoulder. 

"All in all, we feel like it's pretty good news," general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday at the Sloan Park complex. "We'll get this right and get him back out there."

The Cubs plan to shut down Jimenez for three weeks and then restart a throwing program, which will probably leave him in extended spring training. Once medically cleared and operating at game speed, advanced Class-A Myrtle Beach would be a logical landing spot for Jimenez, who's only 20 years old and a consensus top-15 prospect in the industry. 

Jimenez hadn't played since a March 14 Cactus League game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Mesa. Hoyer pointed to the awkward throw that Jimenez made from left field – the ball wound up in the seats behind the third-base dugout – as "sort of the straw that broke the camel's back."

"Changing his mechanics a little bit is something we'll probably work on," Hoyer said, "just making sure in the future he doesn't do that. He had been a little bit sore before. That sort of pushed things over the edge."

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Hoyer laughed when a reporter asked a follow-up question using manager Joe Maddon's comparisons: Do you think Jimenez is more like Miguel Cabrera or Edgar Martinez?

"I try not to attach many players to prospects," Hoyer said. "It never seems like it works out that well in the future when you guys remind us of these comments.

"But I love his balance. For a big guy like that at such a young age, his recognition's really good. And with a lot of guys with that kind of power, I feel like there's some wild swinging that goes on. With him, it doesn't seem like it's ever wild swinging.

"It's very in control, which is very much like his personality. When you talk to him, he's very measured. He's calm in the box. I think that really helps him."

Road Ahead: Cubs look for revenge against Pirates

Road Ahead: Cubs look for revenge against Pirates

CSN's Cubs Pregame and Postgame host David Kaplan and analyst David DeJesus discuss the upcoming matchups in this edition of the Cubs Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland & NW Indiana Honda Dealers.

The Cubs' bats are finally coming around. 

On the back of Anthony Rizzo, who hit three homers this weekend, the North Siders took two out of three from the Cincinnati Reds and have been winners of four out of five overall. 

The offense will attempt to stay in their groove against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who swept the Cubs at Wrigley during the teams' last meeting. 

Luckily for Chicago's pitching staff, Starling Marte won't be anchoring the Pirates' order. The outfielder is serving a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. 

After Pittsburgh, Joe Maddon's club hits Fenway Park for what should be a wild three-game set against the Red Sox. 

Watch David Kaplan and David DeJesus break down the upcoming matchups in the video above. 

 

John Lackey struggles as Cubs drop series finale to Reds

John Lackey struggles as Cubs drop series finale to Reds

CINCINNATI — With his high leg kick and below-the-radar breaking balls, Bronson Arroyo showed the Cubs a little old-style pitching. Who needs to throw 90 mph to beat the World Series champions?

The 40-year-old righty gave his best performance yet in his long comeback from elbow problems, pitching three-hit ball over six innings on Sunday, and the Cincinnati Reds salvaged a 7-5 victory . Arroyo worked fast, varied the angles of his deliveries, and kept `em guessing with his minimalist pitches.

"I'm happy for him, to see him back up," Chicago catcher Miguel Montero said. "He's a tough pitcher to face. Obviously he's throwing below hitting speed right now."

Arroyo (2-2) needed more than two years to recover from Tommy John surgery. The Reds gave him what amounted to a final chance this spring, and he's back to fooling `em with his unusual repertoire. Jon Jay saw pitches of 67, 74, 83, 75 and 70 mph during one at-bat.

"I don't want to say I had pinpoint control, but I was throwing the breaking ball down and out where it was almost impossible to hit," Arroyo said. "They knew where I was going, but I still had enough late movement to surprise them."

Arroyo allowed Anthony Rizzo's two-run homer - his third of the series - and struck out seven batters for the first time since May 13, 2014.

"This was the first time he looked like the Bronson of his first time through here," manager Bryan Price said, referring to Arroyo's 2006-13 stay in Cincinnati.

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Raisesl Iglesias gave up a pair of runs in the ninth before finishing off the Reds' 3-7 homestand.

Patrick Kivlehan's bases-loaded double highlighted a four-run sixth inning off John Lackey (1-3) and decided a matchup of up-in-years starters. The 38-year-old Lackey and Arroyo have combined for 793 starts in the majors.

Despite the loss, the defending champs took two of three in the series and moved back into first place in the NL Central. No surprise that it happened in Cincinnati - the Cubs have won 17 of their last 22 at Great American Ball Park. They've taken 20 of their last 25 overall against the Reds.

"I have nothing to complain about," manager Joe Maddon said.

Rizzo extended his hitting streak to 12 games - matching his career high - with his two-run homer in the fourth inning. His three-run shot with two outs in the ninth helped the Cubs rally for a 6-5, 11-inning victory in the series opener. He had another three-run homer during a 12-8 win on Saturday.

The Cubs have homered in their last 15 games at Great American. They hit seven in all during the series.