MESA, Ariz. — Some things have stayed the same since the last time right-hander Jake Arrieta pitched for the Cubs, but many things have changed.
For example, the Cubs have built up their pitching infrastructure in the last three seasons to help them analyze, develop and improve their pitchers. With upgrades to research and development and the recent success of their pitching lab, it has allowed Arrieta to see different ways to get himself back on track this season.
‘‘Yeah, it interests me a lot, and there are a lot of changes for the good,’’ Arrieta said. ‘‘I think advanced analytics are very important, [but] I still think baseball is learning how to implement those into the game more effectively.
‘‘I do think that the foundation of pitching has been strayed [away] from slightly with some of those numbers. But I have seen a shift back toward kind of the foundation of pitching that is establishing down and away, changing speeds and then changing eye level after we’ve developed the ability to consistently throw down and away.’’
Arrieta said he had several conversations with Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy, assistant pitching coach Mike Borzello and bullpen coach Chris Young before re-signing with the team. He said having familiarity with members of the staff and seeing how they could help him were factors in his decision to return.
‘‘Any [time] that you can see how you move through space and through your delivery and have the ability to make some tweaks here and there that can make your body move a little bit more effectively, that’s going to lead to a positive change in your ability to go out there and perform at the highest level.
‘‘It’s good to see that; it really is. Whether it’s something completely small, like being able to increase your internal rotation in your drive leg, or finding a way to develop a little bit more spine mobility, which could lead to better command or maybe a slight uptick in velocity, those are all good things to know.’’