Jake Arrieta was the Cubs’ best starter in April, and his return has been what the team had hoped for when he signed during the offseason. But the Cubs will be without the veteran right-hander as he recovers from a cut on his right thumb that landed him on the 10-day injured list Tuesday.
Arrieta, who was scheduled to start Wednesday against the Dodgers, aggravated the cut during his start Friday in Cincinnati as he allowed seven runs over 3⅓ innings. While he hoped it wouldn’t be an issue, the thumb became more of a problem, leading the team to give him time to heal.
“I tried to throw a bullpen a couple days ago and really just wasn’t able to apply the pressure necessary on any of my pitches,” Arrieta said before Wednesday’s series finale. “If I can’t do that, there’s really no sense in going out there. . . . Just putting my health even further at risk with the thumb, if it were to reopen — then it just sets us back even further.”
The benefit for Arrieta and the Cubs is three off days coming over the next week, which should allow him to return to the rotation and miss just one start. He expects to return next week against the Tigers in Detroit.
So long, Strop
Right-hander Pedro Strop elected to become a free agent on Wednesday. Strop, 35, signed with the Cubs on a minor-league deal during spring training and was pitching at the Cubs’ alternate site in South Bend, Indiana.
There weren’t going to be many opportunities for Strop to crack the major-league roster and with the minor-league season starting, the longtime Cubs reliever can search for a better opportunity. He pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts in two games this season.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see Strop return to the Cubs when his playing days are over. The organization holds him in high regard with the impact that he has had since coming over from the Orioles in 2013.
“We wish [Pedro] the best,” manager David Ross said. “It was nice to have him around. He’s just put a smile on my face from the day I first met him coming over here in 2015. He’s a guy who walks into the locker room and he’s electric. His personality lights up a room, he’s a fun guy to be around and he’s a very talented pitcher. I’m very thankful for a lot of things that Pedro has brought into my life and our friendship.”
Miller activated, Romine to 60-day IL
The Cubs have right-hander Tyson Miller off the COVID-related injured list and assigned him to Class AAA Iowa. To make room on the 40-man roster for Miller, the team moved catcher Austin Romine from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day IL. Romine went on the IL on April 28 with a severe left wrist sprain. Tony Wolters has served as the primary backup catcher to Willson Contreras.