(CBS) Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta estimates he has been tested for performance-enhancing drugs between 10 and 15 times in the last year.
The topic of PEDs returned to the forefront of conversation around the league this week after Pirates center fielder Starling Marte, an All-Star in 2016, was suspended 80 games for violating the league’s policy on banned substances. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo subsequently called for testing to be more frequent.
Arrieta joined the Bernstein and Goff Show on Thursday for his regular appearance, discussing PEDs and more.
“Rizzo and a couple of other guys had a blood test after the game a couple of nights ago,” Arrieta said. “I’ve had it happen before. I think they do a pretty good job of doing it before the game, after the game, so it makes it harder for guys to get around the system. Unfortunately, I think you’re going to continue to see some guys try. But it just shows with a guy like Marte getting caught, the system is working.
“The safety of the players and the health of the players is one of the main concerns. Also, keeping the playing field level. I think there are things we can do within the rules to keep us healthy, to help our bodies recover the best of our abilities. Obviously, there are things out there on the banned list for a reason, because they do work.”
Arrieta was also asked about velocity of the Cubs pitchers, himself included. It’s been down for a handful of them as the Cubs eased the workload on their pitchers in spring training after two seasons with deep playoff runs.
“It’s just not that important to us,” Arrieta responded. “Our job is to go out there and get people out. It doesn’t matter if its’s with 80 or 96. That’s not part of the job description for me. I don’t think guys are worried about it. We can effectively get guys out, even if we don’t go out there with our best stuff. That’s really all I’m focused on.”
Arrieta is 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in three starts this season with the Cubs, who travel to Cincinnati on Thursday and begin a three-game set with the Reds on Friday at Great American Ballpark.