PITTSBURGH – Whatever the MRI on Jake Arrieta’s right hamstring reveals, the Cubs have to be preparing as if their Cy Young Award winner won’t be ready to stay on schedule and make his next start.
“Honestly, I’d have to say we’re probably going to push him back, regardless of what the news is,” manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday as the Cubs awaited the MRI results. “We’ll see. It’s hard to imagine he’d be ready to start this next time out.
“But, again, we’ll wait to see what the final test says. If they’re saying nothing’s really wrong – and he does his Superman stretches and feels better – then all of a sudden we’re back in a good spot.”
Arrieta downplayed the injury after limping off the field in the third inning of a 12-0 Labor Day loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, framing it as more of a cramping problem than a deeper issue with his hamstring. Getting the MRI shouldn’t be interpreted as a sign that Arrieta (14-9, 3.48 ERA) felt bad day-after effects.
“Just take it so you know how to treat it,” Maddon said. “Even if it’s not so bad, we treat it this way. If it’s something worse than that, we treat it this way. You have to have definition when you’re treating something like that, how aggressive or nonaggressive you have to be.”
Without revealing their rotation plans, the Cubs already have a day off scheduled for Monday and the luxury of using lefty swingman Mike Montgomery, who’s gone 4-4 with a 4.17 ERA in 11 starts this season, perhaps pitching his way into a larger role for 2018 and beyond, when Arrieta will probably working somewhere else on a nine-figure megadeal.