MESA, Ariz. – Jon Lester will be ready if Jake Arrieta becomes a question mark for Opening Day.
Arrieta’s brilliance last year— and the yips and some bad luck — overshadowed Lester’s strong debut season with the Cubs. While Arrieta blossomed into a Cy Young Award winner, Lester is still a three-time All-Star with two World Series rings and a 2.85 ERA in 98 career postseason innings.
So the Cubs will be in good hands if they are cautious with the blister on Arrieta’s right thumb and start Lester on April 4 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.
“All five of us are prepared to go whenever they tell us to go,” Lester said after throwing five scoreless innings during Friday’s 5-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at Sloan Park. “If it’s a day sooner, then we’ll make an adjustment. And if it’s my normal day, then we’ll stay right on track.
“Talking to Jake this morning a little bit, I don’t think he’s too concerned about it. I don’t think many people are concerned about it.”
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The Cubs have a good backup plan for Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. While Lester’s practice throws to first base have generated most of the headlines, the $155 million lefty seems visibly more comfortable this spring and ready for a big season, which might start before Arrieta.
“I don’t think it’s going to affect him too much,” Lester said. “Hopefully, everything heals up fine and we don’t have to alter anything and we just stay on course.”