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Cubs might give Jake Arrieta a precautionary shutdown

Updated: September 19, 2014 6:28AM

NEW YORK — Could the Cubs’ theater of the absurd escalate to the point of taking their best pitcher out of circulation down the stretch to give young guys tryouts?

Cubs manager Rick Renteria seemed to suggest as much before Sunday’s game when asked about the status over the final weeks of right-hander Jake Arrieta — who opened the season on the disabled list because of shoulder soreness.

“We’re all cognizant of the fact that it’s getting later into the season and we’re still monitoring everybody and trying to make sure we don’t put them in any peril,” Renteria said of his de facto ace, who lowered his ERA to 2.61 with seven more scoreless innings in his 19th start Sunday (117 1/3 innings this season).

If that means shutting Arrieta down at some point over a health precaution, workload precaution or anything else, that’s news to Arrieta, whose career high is 173 1/3 innings in 2010 (Class AAA and majors combined).

“I’ve heard nothing about that,” he said. “Obviously, I would love to finish the season out for however many starts I have left. I feel fresh and healthy. I’m good.”

Arrieta has shown little sign of wear or fatigue since coming back from the injury, and Renteria lauded his performance.

But the manager was noncommittal at best about the likelihood Arrieta would be allowed to make his final seven starts.

“I think we have to see how he’s feeling,” Renteria said. “He’s obviously been pretty good, so it’s still one of those things where we still monitor his pitch counts and his innings. It’s something where he’s been grinding it out pretty good. He’s given us quite a few outings where he’s gone deep into ballgames. But we’ll just continue to assess and evaluate and make that determination as we continue to move forward.”

Arrieta, who has put together the best extended run of his career, said it’s because he has harmonized the physical and mental sides of his game for the first time and that he sees no need to stop now.

“I just want to make every start that I have lined up throughout the end of September,” he said. “If something comes up, I guess that’ll be addressed. Obviously, I’d love to stay in the mix and finish out on a high note.”


Twitter: @GDubCub

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