On Thursday, Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer, and manager Rick Renteria addressed reporters from the team’s new Spring Training facility to officially kick off the 2014 baseball season.
The team announced on Thursday that starting pitcher Jake Arrieta experienced shoulder tightness over the winter and will be brought along slowly during Spring Training.
“He’s feeling good right now,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “We re-started his throwing program. He’s going to be a little bit late into camp as far as throwing bullpens and getting into games.” -Jed Hoyer, ESPN Chicago
Arrieta was acquired by the Cubs during the 2013 season in a trade that sent Scott Feldman to the Baltimore Orioles. Arrieta made 9 starts with the Cubs last season. In those 9 starts, Arrieta posted a record of 4-2 to go along with an ERA of 3.66 but a FIP of 4.94. Arrieta was set to start the 2014 season in the Cubs starting rotation, likely as the team’s fifth starter.
Renteria did not appear to be too optimistic that Arrieta will be ready when the team breaks camp at the end of March.
“We’re going to be cautious with him,” he said. “We wouldn’t expect that he would start the season with us. -Rick Renteria, ESPN Chicago
It would appear that James McDonald will replace Arrieta in the rotation for the meantime. McDonald’s signing was made official on Thursday. Injuries plagued McDonald in 2013 with the pitcher only making 6 starts for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. In those six starts, McDonald posted an ERA of 5.76 to go along with a FIP of 4.13.
The Cubs depth at the starting pitcher spot will already be tested and that is one of the reasons why the team wanted to add pitchers over the off-season. McDonald and veteran starting pitcher Jason Hammel were the two starters that the team added over the winter. Hammel is expected to be the Cubs fourth starter this season.