What makes PEDs unbearable to consider for Cubs’ Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta might be the Cubs’ most tested player under baseball’s “random” testing program for performance enhancing drugs,  enough that the muscular power pitcher might be able to make a case he’s being profiled.

“I was tested a couple weeks ago. I have one today,” he said Tuesday before the Cubs rallied to beat the Brewers 9-7 and snap a four-game losing streak.

“If I am profiled because of whatever, then that’s fine, too,” he said. “I’ll take the test, and we’ll keep continuing to move on. That’s all I can do. Do it the right way and cooperate and take every test that I’m asked to take, and every one comes back clean.”

The subject came up again with the announcement by major league baseball that All-Star outfielder Starling Marte of the rival Pirates was suspended for 80 games for a positive PED test, just three days after homering in a one-run victory over the Cubs.

Jake Arrieta during the World Series

On a hitter-friendly night in which the Cubs and Brewers combined for four home runs and 13 extra-base hits, it raised once again the question of how many players are still using PEDs more than a decade after the first significant increase in testing and penalties.

“I think we need to get drug tested a lot more,” said first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who seems at the opposite end of the “random” spectrum from Arrieta — having gone untested since the start-of-spring test everyone takes.

The Cubs trailed 5-0 before two-run homers by Kyle Schwarber in the third and Miguel Montero in the fourth, and a four-run sixth gave them the lead. And just like that, the hand wringing over the Pirates’ weekend sweep can disappear Wednesday if the Cubs win their fourth of fifth series.

“Well needed win,” said Montero, whose three hits included this homer.

Asked before the game about Marte in the context of the weekend sweep, manager Joe Maddon said, “I don’t’ look in the rear-view mirror. … I’m just glad that the drug testing is working.”

Arrieta said last year that he has heard of whispers from opposing players who speculate on whether he uses steroids.

“It’s just a frustrating time for everyone once something like this comes in the news,” he said. “You hate to see it, but it also shows that the testing’s working.”

For Arrieta, the choices he makes for strength building and fitness — “I eat plants” — come down to a simple way of looking at what might be bigger risks than suspensions or lost wages.

Arrieta with his family before a game last year

“I don’t want to ever have to look my kids in the face and tell them about something like that,” he said. “That’s why I’ve always tried to do things the right way. Play within the rules. That’s the only way I know how to do it.

“I personally think it would stick with you forever,” he added, “something that would weigh on you. Even the guys that don’t get caught. I feel like they’re going to have to deal with that personally for the rest of their lives.”

Follow me on Twitter @GDubCub

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com

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