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Jake Arrieta hits long home run, Cubs settle for tie vs. DBacks

Catcher Willson Contreras’ two-out, infield single in the top of the ninth drove home the go-ahead run from third. But a walk, single and sacrifice fly in the bottom half against prospect James Pugliese left the Cubs with their fifth tie this spring.

Monster mash

On his first swing of the year, right-hander Jake Arrieta belted what Statcast measured to be a 465-foot home run to left-center field in the third inning against Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke. He also drove in a go-ahead run in the sixth on an infield chopper with the bases loaded. “Decent first day at the plate,” said Arrieta, who departed after 77 pitches with a 3-2 lead in the sixth. “On the mound it was pretty good, too. Time was really good; effort was really low. I threw some good changeups, and the curveball’s spin is back to where it was last year. That’s a good sign.”

Duensing back

Jake Arrieta homers in the third inning of Thursday's game.

Veteran left-hand Brian Duensing, who had been sidelined two weeks with back stiffness, returned to pitch an inning in relief. He gave up a single and a sacrifice fly, then got a weakly hit ball to the mound and foul pop. If he stays healthy, he would be the key to the Cubs keeping a 13-man pitching staff.

Spring cleaning

The Cubs sent seven more players out of camp, trimming the spring roster to 36. Jeimer Candelario and right-handers Alec Mills and Jake Buchanan were optioned to Class AAA Iowa. Non-roster pitchers Dylan Floro, Williams Perez and David Rollins were re-assigned to minor-league camp. Right-hander Jim Henderson was released.

On deck

Indians at Cubs, Mesa, 3:05 p.m., cubs.com audio, Carlos Carrasco vs. John Lackey.