The Rundown: Lester’s Issues with Holding Runners, Will C.J. Edwards Be Brought Up This Year? LHP James Russell Returns

It appears Jake Arrieta has picked up right where he left off last year.

After a breakout 2014, the Cubs No. 2 starter tossed seven shutout innings in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over the Cardinals.

The performance provided a nice bounce-back for the Cubs after a disappointing home opener Sunday. One of the (many) frustrating aspects of Opening Night was Jon Lester not being at his sharpest.

With the Cardinals clearly taking advantage of Lester’s troubles with holding baserunners, the Cubs ace fielded questions on the topic yesterday.

“Like I said, it’s something that’s being blown out of proportion right now,” Lester told Mark Gonzales. “There’s really nothing to talk about at the beginning of the year. So you need to talk about the negative stuff and now we’re just continuing to work on the things we need to work on and get out and pitch.”

I’d have to agree with him here — people are probably making a bigger deal out of this than necessary. But it is something that I could see teams continue to attack in the future.

Lester didn’t attempt a pick-off all of last season (although he did make an attempt during Spring Training this year). I’m sure he’s more worried about not allowing baserunners in the first place.

With Lester becoming irritated with these types of questions, it’ll be interesting to see how his interactions with the media continue throughout the year. Because I’m sure he’ll be pelted with similar types of questions all season long.

Edwards on the fast track

Cubs top pitching prospect C.J. Edwards will be pitching out of the bullpen to begin the year in Double-A, writes Patrick Mooney.

Jed Hoyer said having Edwards in the bullpen could fast-track him to the Cubs this year, as well as help reduce the workload on the young pitcher’s arm.

Edwards pitched only a little more than 50 innings last season because of shoulder problems. He has a very slight frame that leads many to wonder whether Edwards will ever be able to handle a full season as a starter.

The Cubs haven’t give up on that yet, however.

“We certainly in no way, shape or form have given up on him as a starter,” Hoyer said. “But we also realize we probably have to manage his innings a little bit this year.”

I think this is a good move, especially if it means we could see Edwards at Wrigley Field this season.

Other notes

* The Cubs have brought back left-handed reliever James Russell. He will report to Triple-A Iowa on Sunday. Russell had a rough spring with the Braves. Good to have him back — it’s a low-risk move on a guy who the Cubs are obviously familiar with.

* Heading into Denver for the weekend, the Cubs have tweaked the starting rotation a bit. Travis Wood will now be pitching on Friday, with Jason Hammel going on Saturday. Hammel originally was supposed to pitch Wednesday but was bumped back after Tuesday’s canceled game. I’m sure he is happy to get to pitch in the thin Colorado air, as opposed to the cold Chicago weather. Jesse Rogers writes that the decision was made to keep Wood on schedule and not because of any injury issues.


Back to top button