james russell cubsUpdating a handful of injury-related bits, as guys continue to get ready for the season ahead …

  • Jake Arrieta has thrown off of the mound! And he felt good! (Cubs.com) Arrieta, otherwise slotted to be the Cubs’ fifth starter this year, dealt with some shoulder tightness shortly before camp opened, but he said he felt “awesome” throwing ten pitches off of the mound on Tuesday. Arrieta, who has always held out hope for Opening Day, told Mark Gonzalez that he things he can ramp up quickly once he gets into game action, though manager Rick Renteria kinda pulled back the reins on that one. Arrieta could prove to be a long-term piece for the Cubs, and there’s no sense in risking anything for a couple weeks in April. The best bet is that Arrieta starts the year on the disabled list while James McDonald, Chris Rusin, or Carlos Villanueva fills in. From there, hopefully Arrieta is ready within a couple weeks, and then the Cubs figure out the roster implications of his return.
  • James Russell tells Patrick Mooney that his “dead arm” is no big deal, and is the kind of thing that “95 percent” of pitchers deal with in the spring at some point. He believes he can be ready for the season with just five or six appearances, and maintains that anything he’s dealing with now has nothing to do with his heavy usage the last two years. Carrie Muskat reports that Russell will throw his first bullpen tomorrow.
  • Starlin Castro ended up getting an MRI on his strained hamstring (Cubs.com). Although it showed a little fluid (fluid can build up where there’s an injury), there wasn’t anything major, and it didn’t change his 7 to 10 day prognosis. He’ll continue working out in the pool, and will probably be back at some point next week. There’s just no reason to rush things, given that Castro probably needs only about a week’s worth of games to be ready for the season.
  • Mike Olt, who will play today at first base, could see action at third base within a few days (Sun-Times). He’s been dealing with a sore shoulder, which has prevented him from playing his natural position just yet this Spring. Generally, there’s no concern that he can’t handle third base well in the big leagues, so the fact that he’s been unable to play over there this Spring probably doesn’t impact his chances of making the roster. That was always going to depend on the bat. Even still, my guess at this point is that he breaks camp in the minors, where the Cubs probably hope he’ll confirm in a month or two that he’s ready to come up and play every day at third.


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