Arrieta, 27, was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles last season and is slotted as the Cubs No. 4 or 5 starter.
“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.”
New manager Rick Renteria wasn’t optimistic for an April readiness for Arrieta.
“We’re going to be cautious with him,” he said. “We wouldn’t expect that he would start the season with us.
“(Hammel's) a guy that’s had some success in some difficult places,” Hoyer said. “He started out in Tampa Bay, went to Colorado and had some success in Coors Field. And then had some more success in Baltimore. We’ve had some success in bringing guys in on one-year deals.”
Hammel, 31, is 49-59 with a 4.80 ERA in 215 career appearances. He’s had injuries the last two seasons which have sidelined him mid-year. McDonald, 29, was with Pittsburgh last season but battled injuries as well. He’s 32-30 with a 4.20 ERA in 131 major league appearances. He’s also the first cousin of Cubs reserve outfielder Darnell McDonald.
“We’ve liked the stuff,” Hoyer said. “He’s dealt with some injuries over the last couple of years. He looks healthy and ready to go.”
Hammel’s deal is for $6 million while McDonald gets an incentive-laden contract with a non-guaranteed $1 million base.