(CBS) Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta is back.
Arrieta will start against the Brewers in Milwaukee on Thursday evening, the team confirmed Wednesday. He has been out since suffering a hamstring strain on Sept. 4. Arrieta threw a bullpen session Tuesday, then reported pain-free Wednesday, finalizing the Cubs’ plans for his return.
The plan is for Arrieta to start two more times in the regular season after Thursday, and the Cubs are thrilled that they’ve stayed in line for a playoff berth with others stepping up in Arritea’s absence.
“We’ve had the least amount of injuries in baseball by a pretty wide number organizationally, especially at the big league level (in the last few years),” pitching coach Chris Bosio said on the Mully and Hanley Show on 670 The Score on Wednesday morning.
“It’s a long, long grind. When you’re in our position and other teams that are going to the postseason position — Cleveland, Washington, the Dodgers, the teams that are usually the last couple years that are getting there, Kansas City for example — you know, they’re going to have some injuries. You’re going to have your depth tested. But the one thing it does, the one thing I’ve noticed is it gets your depth some invaluable experience.
“We’ve had some guys that have really stepped up this year in a big way.”
Arrieta has been dominant in the second half, going 6-2 with a 1.98 ERA while holding opposing batters to a .198 average. He’s 14-9 with a 3.48 ERA on the season.
The Cubs lead the Brewers by 3.5 games in the NL Central entering play Wednesday. They’ll start a four-game series Thursday at Miller Park. With the Arrieta news, the pitching matchups are now set:
Thursday: Jake Arrieta (14-9, 3.48 ERA) vs. Zach Davies (17-9, 3.89)
Friday: John Lackey (11-11, 4.62) vs. Brandon Woodruff (2-2, 3.28)
Saturday: Kyle Hendricks (7-5, 3.22) vs. Brent Suter (3-2, 3.41)
Sunday: Jose Quintana (6-3, 3.95) vs. Chase Anderson (11-3, 2.74)