Cubs

Cubs hope Jake Arrieta's blister won't knock him off Opening Day track

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Cubs hope Jake Arrieta's blister won't knock him off Opening Day track

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Cubs are as deep and as talented as any team on paper, but it’s still difficult to see them withstanding the loss of Jake Arrieta and making a World Series run.

The sight of a Cy Young Award winner walking off the mound in the middle of the first inning — and then making a fist — had to be unsettling for Cubs fans in the sellout crowd at Scottsdale Stadium or watching back home on ESPN.

“Of course,” manager Joe Maddon said after Thursday night’s 16-14 win over the San Francisco Giants. “We don’t want to lose him. We don’t want to miss him. But I don’t really think it’s anything awful.”

In the grand scheme of things, the Cubs should be able to manage the blister on their ace’s right thumb. It ended Arrieta vs. Madison Bumgarner before it ever really began in Old Town. 

Arrieta didn’t sound concerned after facing seven Giants and giving up four hits and two walks, leaving a bases-loaded jam for minor-league pitcher Michael Jensen and then getting charged with five runs.

“It was just quite tender,” Arrieta said. “I had it covered in superglue, and that was actually preventing me from applying the right amount of pressure on my pitches. Everything was just kind of slipping off of my thumb. So I really couldn’t finish or get the good rotation on my breaking stuff.

“We got the skin kind of evened out. It’s really not that bad. It’s just something I need to give a few days and let the skin harden around it (and) get that thing out of there. But, physically, everything’s fine.”

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Arrieta blamed it on Arizona’s dry climate and said he dealt with a blister on a different spot on his thumb last week and still managed to throw a bullpen session two days later.

Arrieta also said pitching coach Chris Bosio and guest instructor/ESPN broadcaster Rick Sutcliffe noticed the difference while he warmed up in the bullpen before the game. Maddon visited Arrieta on the mound twice in the first inning and saw enough after 34 pitches.

“Overall, I’m not hyper-concerned right now,” Maddon said. “Let’s look at it and not jump the gun and see what happens.”

Just listening to Arrieta talk in full paragraphs and reading his body language, he did not seem at all worried about being able to ramp up for his Opening Day start on April 4 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Stay tuned.

“We’ll just let it heal and go from there,” Arrieta said. “We’re not in any trouble with missing any time or having to be skipped or anything like that.”

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

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NBC Sports Chicago

Kyle Hendricks takes in a Blackhawks game with... Bastian Schweinsteiger?

A Cubs pitcher taking in a Blackhawks game in a suite is nothing special, but doing so with a World Cup winner is... different.

Kyle Hendricks was spotted by the cameras of Thursday's Blackhawks-Coyotes broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago. The guy he was standing next to was none other than Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, a World Cup with Germany and Champions League winner with Bayern Munich.

Hendricks is known for being reserved on the mound and in his interviews with the media. Meanwhile, Schweinsteiger was filmed yelling "Bear Down" in the hallway of Toyota Park after a Fire practice earlier in the day.

There's no telling what inspired Schweinsteiger to do this, but he has definitely embraced Chicago sports teams since joining the Fire in March of 2017.

Makes you wonder what Hendricks and Schweinsteiger were talking about. Best places to get brats in Chicago?

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist won't win the Comeback Player of the Year award this winter, but maybe he can take home a Grammy for Best New Artist?

The Cubs veteran infielder/outfielder posted a hilarious video on his Instagram Wednesday night showcasing how he's been spending October after the Cubs were unceremoniously ousted from the playoffs after on the third day of the month.

It's a fantastic music video of Zobrist lip-syncing to Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait" while he nearly knocks the TV off the wall of his home by swinging the bat indoors pretending to hit off Clayton Kershaw and frolicking around a field that looks shockingly similar to Hershel's farm from the second season of "The Walking Dead":

View this post on Instagram

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year.... I will wait for you....

A post shared by Ben Zobrist (@benzobrist18) on

Zobrist also posted a lengthy caption on his perspective on the Cubs' disappointing end to the season:

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) 
Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not
Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. 
I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. 
What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. 
To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year....
I will wait for you....

Come for the Zobrist lip sync, but stay for the 37-year-old using a bat as a guitar while wearing a sleeveless shirt and rocking an old-timey top hat.

A year ago, Zobrist completely reshaped his offseason workout plan after three straight years of playing deep into October. It appears he's added another new trick to his winter workout — hopping over fences even though there is a clear opening just a foot away.

Hey, whatever works...