Jake Arrieta to make first spring start for Cubs on Sunday

Arrieta is considered to be a top-of-the-rotation option for manager David Ross.

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John Antonoff/Chicago Sun-Times

Right-hander Jake Arrieta will make his first start of the spring Sunday against the Diamondbacks, manager David Ross said Friday.

The Cubs have taken a slower approach with Arrieta as he makes adjustments to fix some of the things that plagued him during his three seasons with the Phillies.

Ross has said he expects the ex-Cubs ace to be near the top of the rotation this season.

‘‘I think some of the fixes are gonna take a little while,’’ Ross said. ‘‘You’ve got to get back to being able to compete and not fall into patterns or bad habits. But I think he’s excited to get back on the bump and show what he can do and continue to get back to who he thinks he can be and who we think he can be.’’

Arrieta dealt with various injuries during his time with the Phillies. Now that he’s healthy again, getting back on track mechanically has been a point of emphasis.

‘‘Sometimes mechanically with injuries, you get off-track and don’t even realize you’ve done some things,’’ Ross said. ‘‘I think that talking to Jake, some mechanical stuff that we noticed is like: ‘Oh, that would make sense because this was hurting. And every time I did this, I would have pain, so I must have automatically kind of adjusted that to pitch without pain.’ ’’

Marisnick has calf injury

Outfielder Jake Marisnick is dealing with a calf injury that has kept him from playing in games so far this spring. He is expected to be the Cubs’ fourth outfielder this season.

Marisnick, 29, is coming off a difficult season in terms of health. He played in only 16 games with the Mets in 2020 while dealing with an injured left hamstring.

‘‘Just trying to take it slow and make sure,’’ Ross said. ‘‘I think the hamstring that popped up in New York was something that he ignored and kept pushing it, and it got pretty bad. He wants and we want to make sure he’s 100% when he steps out there. So just a little bit of a precaution early on, but he’s feeling good. I think he’s gonna run the bases [Friday] and [Saturday].’’

Competition breeds success

‘‘I’m not making the decision, so all I can do is go out there and pitch. I think competition can only breed success if everybody’s fighting for — whatever you want to say — one or two spots. But I think it’s only gonna make everybody better. I think we’re fighting against each other, [and] as long as it’s something where it’s all for the [good] of the team, it’s gonna make everybody better.’’ — Alec Mills, on the fifth-starter competition

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