SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- I'm sure certain parts of Cubdom are worried after Jake Arrieta left Thursday's game with a blister before he'd even finished the first inning.
But Joe Maddon did the right thing, and Arrieta himself expressed no concern during a long interview with Buster Olney during ESPN's broadcast of the Cubs' win over the Giants by the NFL-like score of 16-14.
Jake said he didn't feel quite right, and decided to err on the side of caution, partly blaming the dry conditions in Arizona for the blister. He said they'd use superglue to seal up the skin and let it "harden" for a couple of days, and then he'd throw a side session to see how everything was going. If that means he'd miss his final spring start next Tuesday, so be it. I'm not worried at all. There's no shoulder or elbow or back issue, things that you'd worry about for a pitcher; a blister is a minor thing, especially in spring training. Here's the full Jake interview from ESPN:
And, still more from Jake:
#Cubs Arrieta says having outing shortened is "frustrating" but "at the same time, it's important to calm this down and put it behind us"— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 25, 2016
#Cubs Arrieta: "At the end of the day, it's most important that it didn't split open on me so there's no setback"— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 25, 2016
Meanwhile, the Giants scored at will off Jake and Michael Jensen, a minor leaguer who came over for just this purpose. He threw a couple of wild pitches, and Brandon Gomes also threw one and couldn't find the plate. Justin Grimm threw a decent inning, allowing just one unearned run. The Giants at various times had leads of 7-1 and 11-5.
But the Cubs' bats came alive, too. Dexter Fowler had three hits and drove in two and Jason Heyward had a two-run triple after an earlier adventure in right field where he lost a ball in the tough late-afternoon sun. Heyward and Fowler were also involved in a bit of a brouhaha with Madison Bumgarner after Bumgarner struck Heyward out. Heyward appeared at first to say something to Bumgarner, who looked like he responded, "You talking to me?" but the ESPN crew speculated that Heyward was signaling Fowler, who was on second base. The benches briefly began to clear, but in the end everything was settled with no problems. Here is what Heyward said really happened:
#Cubs Heyward says he was checking with Fowler re whether it was ball or strike. Posey and Bumgarner misinterpreted things— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 25, 2016
#Cubs Fowler says morale to the story is now he'll just give thumbs up or down if Heyward asks— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 25, 2016
I think she meant "moral," but you get the point, summed up here:
So Bumgarner thought was sign-stealing, but was merely Heyward asking Fowler @ 2B if he thought called 3rd was correct. That should end it— Len Kasper (@LenKasper) March 25, 2016
Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist all had two hits, as did Jeimer Candelario, who hit his third homer of the spring in the fourth inning:
Candelario, who will probably start this year in Double-A, doesn't really have a position as he's blocked by Bryant at third base. But if he can continue his offensive progress, he'll force the Cubs to make a decision -- either find a spot for him, or use him in a trade.
Eventually the Cubs' eight-run fifth inning gave them a 13-11 lead. Things got so bad that Jeffry Antigua, another minor leaguer brought over to fill gaps between big-league pitchers, had to throw three innings. By that time the Cubs had taken a 15-14 lead, after which Neil Ramirez had a solid 1-2-3 inning. He faced a couple of Giants major leaguers, so that has to be a good sign.
Friday afternoon, the Cubs return to Sloan Park for the first time since Sunday. They'll face the Milwaukee Brewers with Jon Lester on the mound. Milwaukee will counter with Jimmy Nelson. The game preview will post at 1 p.m. CT.