NEW YORK — A day after blindsiding his best pitcher by suggesting to the media that right-hander Jake Arrieta might be shut down before the end of the season, Cubs manager Rick Renteria reversed course.
‘‘We have no plans to shut him down,’’ Renteria said Monday. ‘‘That’s something we’re not considering.’’
Renteria said he wasn’t sure why his comments Sunday were interpreted as suggesting a possible shutdown.
‘‘I don’t recall being asked if he was being shut down,’’ he said. ‘‘Maybe I’m wrong.’’
Renteria first was asked generally about the late-season status of Arrieta, who opened the season on the disabled list because of a sore shoulder, partially in the context of the Cubs’ desire to find starts for three recently acquired pitchers down the stretch.
After responding by saying, ‘‘We’re still monitoring everybody and trying to make sure we don’t put them in any peril,’’ he then was asked specifically about whether Arrieta might be shut down at some point.
Renteria closed a lengthy response to that with: ‘‘We’ll just continue to assess and evaluate and make that determination as we continue to move forward.’’
Arrieta, who pitched seven scoreless innings Sunday against the New York Mets to lower his ERA to 2.61, seemed caught off-guard by the suggestion after the game.
Arrieta, whose career high as a pro is 1731/3 innings in 2010, has shown no signs of fatigue or other problems with the shoulder through 19 starts (1171/3 innings). Both he and Renteria said that’s not a concern.
Whether Arrieta and/or others in the rotation are pushed back or even skipped to give newcomers a look, Renteria was emphatic about the Cubs’ intention to keep Arrieta pitching through September.
‘‘We’re not shutting him down,’’ he said. ‘‘Were not looking at shutting him down. We haven’t talked about shutting him down.’’
Seven starts into his big-league career, right-hander Kyle Hendricks (5-1, 1.66 ERA) is looking like a guy who won’t be denied a place in the Cubs’ rotation next April. He drew another comparison to Hall of Famer Greg Maddux from Renteria after pitching seven stellar innings in a 4-1 victory Monday against the Mets.
Hendricks allowed three hits and two walks in his sixth consecutive quality start, making him the first Cubs rookie to do that since Kerry Wood had two streaks of seven such starts in 1998.
‘‘That’s good company right there,’’ said Hendricks, who has a 1.05 ERA in those six starts. ‘‘I met [Wood] a couple of weeks ago in the clubhouse when we were at home. So that’s an honor.’’
Hendricks is the first Cubs rookie to win four consecutive starts since Randy Wells in 2009.
The Cubs held the Mets to four hits or fewer in all four games in the series. It was only the second time in 101 years of available research that Cubs pitchers had a four-game streak like that against anybody. They did it against the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers in 1983.
† Matt Szczur made his first big-league start and went 0-for-3 as the left fielder.
† Recently acquired left-hander Felix Doubront (calf) fared well in a second minor-league rehab start Sunday, but Renteria said a decision about whether he’ll need another rehab game hasn’t been made.