Jake Arrieta thinking long-term after solid outing
BY TONI GINNETTI Staff Reporter September 1, 2013 8:36PM
Updated: October 3, 2013 6:26AM
Pitcher Jake Arrieta’s has some short-term goals: learning to manage walks, staying in an “aggressive state of mind’’ on the mound and keeping his ‘‘foot on the gas’’ to throw first-pitch strikes.
But his long-term goal is to be part of the rotation next season.
“That’s my goal, to be a part of this rotation for years to come,’’ the right-hander said Sunday after his 7-1 victory over Philadelphia. “I’ve developed some comfort here and I look forward to continuing my relationship with the staff here. There’s a camaraderie in the clubhouse and that makes things on the field easier.’’
Since the Cubs acquired Arrieta from Baltimore on July 2, the righty has shown the “power arm’’ the organization covets. He improved to 2-1 (3.77 ERA) Sunday after his third quality start.
“When his command is going and he’s throwing strikes, there’s not a whole lot going on [by the opponent,]’’ manager Dale Sveum said. “When he’s in the zone and has that 90 mph cutter, slider, he’s pretty tough. When he gets command of that cutter, he’ll be pretty powerful in the league.’’
The Cubs won a home series for the first time since July 5-7 against Pittsburgh behind strong outings from Arrieta (62/3 innings, three hits, three walks, four strikeouts) and the bullpen.
Brian Bogusevic was 2-for-4 with two runs scored against Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick (10-12).
Ryan Sweeney (RBI single in the first) and Luis Valbuena (pinch-hit walk with the bases loaded) contributed offensively.
Sweeney and Valbuena were each glad to get into action on their first day off the disabled list.
“To get that first hit under the belt was huge,’’ said Sweeney, who started in center field and singled in the first inning.
“I feel so happy because [Sveum] gave me a chance to have an at-bat,’’ said Valbuena, who pinch-hit in the eighth.
Sveum said he’ll rotate Sweeney and Bogusevic in the outfield with Junior Lake, Nate Schierholtz and Darnell McDonald — though Schierholtz will get the majority of time in right field.
Valbuena will rotate with Donnie Murphy and Cody Ransom at third.
“We’ll give them an opportunity to show us what they have,’’ Sveum said of the veterans.
“We don’t have young kids like last year,’’ he said of the September mix. “Now we have some older left-handed bats to look at and see if they’re in the mix for next season.’’
Last year, outfielder Brett Jackson and third baseman Josh Vitters were focal points of the team as the season wound down. As this season nears its end, neither might be in the Cubs future plans.
Injuries have dogged both prospects and neither has played much this season. Jackson was demoted from Class AAA Iowa to Class AA Tennessee.
“Things have changed a great deal this year,’’ Sveum said, the focus turning to prospects such as Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant. “Player development-wise, it’s been a lost year for both of them. It’ll be a wait-and-see thing this winter [regarding their futures with the club].’’
Coming and goings
Right-handed pitcher Alberto Cabrera was added from Class AAA Iowa on Sunday. The Cubs also designated right-hander Eduardo Sanchez for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Sweeney.