MESA, Arizona -- Instead of taking the long bus ride to Goodyear to face the Indians Saturday night, Jake Arrieta stayed behind in Cubs camp to face a team of Colorado Rockies minor leaguers. Your intrepid reporter hied himself over to Mesa to watch a couple innings worth of Jake's outing; Brett Taylor from Bleacher Nation and John Arguello from Cubs Den were also there, along with about 200 fans, management and scouts, and a couple dozen Cubs minor leaguers not involved in a game, who stood behind home plate to watch the Cubs ace throw (photos 2 and 6).
For the two innings I saw, Jake looked like... Jake. He allowed one hit (to the first batter he faced, on a ball that was lined past shortstop that Addison Russell might have caught) and then ended that inning with a double play. The second inning was a ground out, a popup and a strikeout.
As for the Cubs team, though it was billed as a Triple-A level game, the first three hitters were from the Cubs' 40-man roster. Tommy La Stella, rehabbing from an injury, led off both of the first two innings (this is often done in minor-league spring games to get major leaguers more at-bats) and got hits in both. As you can see in the videos, he didn't run and was replaced by a pinch-runner. According to this, though, he's close to returning to action:
Matt Szczur, who hasn't played in any big-league spring games, also played in this one, and both he and La Stella are close to returning:
Szczur hopes to return Tuesday, he feels fine after minor league game. Ditto La Stella.— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) March 19, 2016
Miguel Montero also played, staying behind to catch Jake. Tim Federowicz will catch Pierce Johnson in the game tonight at Goodyear against the Indians (no TV on this one).
This looks like a good sign for Jake:
Minor league game still in progress. Arrieta 44 pitches, 22 of last 26 pitches were strikes.— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) March 19, 2016
Overall he threw five innings, walked one, struck out six and allowed just the one hit.
Jake's next outing should be the national-TV game Thursday afternoon against the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. You'll pardon the fence posts appearing in a portion of a couple of the videos.