Jake Arrieta threw a successful 25-pitch side session prior to Tuesday’s series opener in Tampa and could pitch again in the series opener in Milwaukee. But, like, for real. Absent from the rotation since leaving his start against Pittsburgh two weeks ago with a Grade 1 hamstring strain, Arrieta has been working aggressively to get back.
Joe Maddon just shifted the rotation up a bit, bumping Jon Lester back to Wednesday and having Mike Montgomery take Tuesday’s start. That gives Lester an extra day of rest and allows the Cubs to pitch three righties against Milwaukee, which they feel is a favorable matchup for them.
Jose Quintana would get the final start in Milwaukee and Montgomery should be available out of the pen by then or maybe even a day earlier. That means Lester would start the opener in St. Louis.
Going Thursday in Milwaukee sets Arrieta up to pitch the second game of the Cardinals series and the final game of the regular season at home against the Reds. With an initial goal of 75-80 pitches his first time back, two additional starts should see him back to full strength by playoff time.
We may not know anything for sure until the team reevaluates Arrieta tomorrow, but it looks right now as though he’ll be a full go.
Photo via Sahadev Sharma Twitter.