Cubs

Cubs still exercising extreme caution with Jake Arrieta ahead of NLDS

Jake Arrieta will not throw in a simulated game Wednesday at Wrigley Field, altering the plan that was set up over the weekend.

The Cubs starter is still getting over a hamstring injury that occurred early in September and forced him out of more than two weeks of action.

Arrieta said over the weekend he didn't need to start Sunday — the final day of the regular season — because he wanted to rest and have a more controlled environment to test out his hamstring and a sim game would provide that environment. 

Instead, the Cubs are pivoting and having Arrieta just work in the bullpen. 

"It's just an indication that we don't want to push him right now," manager Joe Maddon said. "We thought we could control it more in a sidepiece as opposed to a sim game, which we didn't think was that impactful."

However, when Arrieta spoke with reporters Friday morning, he said his arm felt fine and he didn't need any more time throwing bullpens and instead just needed to get out and face hitters. 

He will now go nearly two weeks in between facing hitters, from his last start on Sept. 26 until he throws in either Game 3 or 4 next Monday or Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.

"A sim game's not a real game, either," Maddon said. "There's no way to replicate a real game other than a real game. So we just thought a more controlled environment meaning a bullpen as opposed to a simulated game.

"The simulated game, a lot of it is more for the hitter than the guy pitching, quite frankly. Like in spring training, it's pitcher's practice where pitchers need to throw to hitters and hitters don't need to face pitchers.

"This time of the year, the hitters want to hit against the pitchers more than the pitchers need to throw to the hitters. We just wanted to make sure that we were able to monitor Jake moving forward, but he's feeling fine right now."

Maddon insists Arrieta did not aggravate his hamstring in his last start, when he gave up five runs (three earned) in three innings against the Cardinals in St. Louis.

Maddon also said Arrieta's status on the NLDS roster is not in doubt and there is no concern the veteran right-hander will be forced to miss the series.

The Cubs are worried about the weather forecast for Wednesday in Chicago, which promises a wet, dreary day. Even if the Cubs are able to get out and play a sim game, the field may be pretty wet and slick — not optimal conditions for a guy coming off a hamstring injury.

Jose Quintana was also supposed to throw with Arrieta in Wednesday's sim game, but that status is in doubt as well because of the weather.

The Cubs will announce their NLDS rotation — through at least the first two games — Wednesday afternoon.