Jake Arrieta’s had the more aggressive timeline ever since pitchers and catchers reported to spring training and the Cubs announced a tight right shoulder would make him doubtful for the Opening Day rotation.
So while Arrieta felt good on Tuesday at Wrigley Field – the day after his fourth rehab start – manager Rick Renteria again took the more cautious approach. Renteria said Arrieta’s next start would likely be a shorter outing at a minor-league affiliate, the way pitchers have a final tune-up near the end of spring training.
Renteria also indicated it’s possible that veteran swingman Carlos Villanueva (1-4, 10.93 ERA) could make two more starts before moving back to the bullpen.
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Arrieta stretched out to 94 pitches and served up three home runs in 5.2 innings on Monday with advanced Class-A Daytona. The Cubs need to get a better read on the 28-year-old right-hander and how he fits into their long-range plans.
Is Arrieta the guy who put up a 7.23 ERA in five starts for the Baltimore Orioles last season and got bumped back to Triple-A Norfolk? Or the guy who benefitted from the change of scenery after last summer’s Scott Feldman trade, going 4-2 with a 3.66 ERA in nine starts for the Cubs?
“It’s being just one of the pieces that is put in place to help a team win throughout the course of a long season,” Arrieta said. “That’s what I intend to do. (I’ll) bring what I bring to the table and try to help out the guys around me and hopefully string some wins together and get this thing going in more of a positive direction.”