MESA, Ariz. -- Though he had a Band-Aid on his thumb after throwing 102 pitches in his final spring start, Chicago Cubs Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta declared himself ready for the regular season, which begins on Monday night with him on the mound against the Los Angeles Angels.
Arrieta left his last outing with a blister on the thumb but says it’s no longer an issue.
“There’s no blister anymore,” he stated afterwards. “I like where I’m at going into our first game.”
Arrieta struggled a little in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday but easily recovered to last five while giving up just two hits, two walks and one run. He struck out five and looked better as the game went along.
“Was off a little bit timing wise,” Arrieta said. “I was able to make some adjustments to get back on track.”
Arrieta fell behind several hitters in the first inning, but the radar gun had his velocity in the mid 90s. Soon after, he found his groove. He retired eight in a row at one point, reducing a lofty spring ERA of 5.56 that was mostly due to giving up five runs in the first inning during his last start against the San Francisco Giants while pitching with the blister.
“It’s been OK,” Arrieta said of his thumb. “Staying on top of it, making sure it doesn’t open up, but it’s been a non-issue really.”
Arrieta threw only 34 pitches against the Giants, hence the heavier workload on Tuesday. He’ll have five days off before the Cubs begin a highly anticipated season in the National League.
“Everyone has been waiting for this moment,” he declared. “Its approaching fast. It’s finally here.”