Sean Newcomb looking for a fresh start with Cubs

After falling out of favor with the Braves, the former first-round draft pick is hoping to get a lot of work as he tries to regain his lost form. “I feel physically as good as I ever have,” he said. “It’s just getting my confidence and feel back. Pitching a lot helps that.”

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Sean Newcomb had a 7.20 ERA in three games (5.0 innings) with the Braves this season before he was traded to the Cubs for Jesse Chavez.

Left-hander Sean Newcomb (pitching against the Cubs in 2017) went 12-9 with a 3.90 ERA as a full-time starter for the Braves in 2018.

John Bazemore, AP Photos

There will probably only be one Jake Arrieta in Cubs history. But Arrieta’s success as a struggling pitcher whose career flourished with a “change of scenery” breathes life into every hopeful who follows him on the North Side. 

Left-hander Sean Newcomb is the latest hopeful to take that path to success with the Cubs. A 2014 first-round draft pick who once was a promising starter on the Braves — one strike from a no-hitter against the Dodgers in 2018. But he grew stale in the Braves organization as he struggled in recent years and is looking to recapture that lost form with the Cubs after being traded for Jesse Chavez

Newcomb had a 6.45 ERA in three appearances (five innings) through the Braves’ first 13 games this season — allowing a run or more in each appearance. 

“I was not pitching as much as I wanted to,” Newcomb said Friday. “I guess I’d say there’s a bunch of talent there, a bunch of good arms. This new opportunity, kind of just a new perspective from the coaching staff [could make a difference]. Just a bunch of little things.” 

Newcomb said his demise with the Braves was not a physical issue. His stuff is just as good as it was when he was 8-2 with a 2.71 ERA in the first half of 2018 and 6-3 with a 3.16. ERA as primarily a reliever in 2019. 

“I feel physically as good as I ever have,” Newcomb said. “It’s just getting my confidence and feel back. Pitching a lot helps that. I was kind of trapped [with the Braves]. I’d throw once a series, throw an inning or so. If I can hopefully get more innings, just get my confidence and feel back and get back to where I was a few years ago, I’d be happy with that.” 

Frazier out with appendicitis

Outfielder Clint Frazier, the former Yankee signed as a free agent in the offseason, was put on the 10-day injured list with appendicitis.

The Cubs called up outfielder Alfonso Rivas from Iowa.  Rivas made the team out of spring training and went 2-for-4 in two games — after hitting .314 (14-for-44) in 18 games last season. 

Mills on the rebound

Right-hander Alec Mills (lower back strain) is schedule for a rehab start for Class AAA Iowa against Louisville on Saturday. Mills, who was 6-7 with 5.07 ERA in 32 games (20 starts) last season, has not pitched this season. He was put on the injured list April 7 (retroactive to April 4). 

In other injury updates … Pitcher Wade Miley (elbow) threw a bullpen session Friday. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons (shoulder) is throwing and hitting in Arizona. 

Caught napping

Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds took advantage of a Cubs defensive shift in the seventh inning Thursday night against Rowan Wick when he not only hit the ball to vacated third base area, but alertly kept on going after beating the throw to second base because no one was covering third base.

“I think the pitcher needs to head over there,” manager David Ross said. “That’s usually the first thing you tell them with that shift on. We got caught “watching the paint dry” as they would say in ‘Hoosiers.’”

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