Jake Arrieta on spring debut: ‘I was looking forward to my first outing for a while’

Arrieta tossed two scoreless innings against the Diamondbacks on Sunday.

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AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Jake Arrieta has been working during the first three weeks of Cubs’ camp and was finally able to see the results of that work in a game on Sunday against the Diamondbacks.

Things started slow for Arrieta during his spring debut and after some loud contact during the first inning, he was able to retire the side without any damage. The 34-year-old right-hander would follow that with a quick 1-2-3 inning in the second.

Arrieta tossed two scoreless innings during his spring debut, allowing one hit and one walk. His sinker sat between 90-92 mph.

“I was looking forward to my outing for a while,” Arrieta said. “I felt like I didn’t need another [live] BP session to kind of smooth some things out. That’s what this process is for. I look forward to continuing to work through my delivery mechanics over the next three weeks or so. The adjustment is so tiny and a lot of people might watch the video say, ‘Well, it looks almost identical.’ But if the hands break a bit too late or too early, it can kind of throw off the whole thing.

“So getting out there today in that environment on the road against another team, starting off with two guys on base in the first and being able to get the job done. These are all situations that are going to rise during the season. So it’s nice to get them out of the way in spring training.”

Kimbrel working back into form

The Cubs have taken things slow with closer Craig Kimbrel this spring, which was the plan. MLB’s active leader in saves showed some rust during his first outing, allowing four runs on four hits against Cleveland on Friday.

“You always want the best for everybody,” Ross said. “And it didn’t work out just how he wanted it to go, or I guess any of us really ever wanted to go. What I look for, easy 95 [mph], wasn’t a lot of effort behind the first couple pitches. The ball was carrying in a true fashion. I thought the breaking ball was still a little lazy at times, but then I went back to the video this morning, and it was pretty sharp. There were some really good ones in there too.

“It just looked like a little bit of rust. He felt good. [The] ball was coming out good. [He] didn’t look like he was laboring at all. A lot of those balls – a couple soft liners or the fly balls that fell … if that’s 96 or 97 [mph] it’s above the barrel [and] probably more of a pop up than a ball that reaches the gap or [goes] where they can’t get to it.”

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