Originally slated to start on Saturday against the Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester was scratched from action due to a “dead arm,” but the pitcher is not concerned about missing anything more than that.
“It’s something we all go through,” he said in the clubhouse before the game. “Usually mine is either earlier or later. I’m sure Joe (Maddon) said that if this was during the season, it wouldn’t be an issue. Since we have time, we have the opportunity to kind of step back and let it be for a start and get back to normal. We decided to use that option.”
“It just seems to me that during the course of a camp they just hit that moment where you can’t feel anything coming out of your hand," Maddon said of Lester's issues. "It’s almost like you have to manufacture everything coming out of your hand. It’s a chore. It’s a drudgery. It’s not normal and you don’t understand why, but you eventually work your way through it. It is what it is.”
Lester is coming off of a rough start on Monday against the San Diego Padres, in which he gave up six earned runs in 3 1/3 innings of work. He ended up throwing 70 pitches in the outing as he struck out four batters and scattered seven hits, but he doesn’t blame the extended work or his performance on the ailment.
“It was a culmination of a lot of things that led to this,” he said. “We’ll make the adjustment and get some work done and regenerate and get ready for Thursday.”
The Cubs do have an off day on their schedule on Monday before they resume play on Tuesday, and Lester is currently in line to get the start against the Los Angeles Angels in Mesa on Thursday.
For Lester, the issue is something that he deals with every preseason, saying that the only difference this time is that it happened a bit later in the spring slate than usual.
“I’ve never missed a start (in spring training),” he said. “It’s usually that first part of spring training when you’re throwing batting practice, and you just back off. I don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about. There’s no pain. There’s no worry on anybody’s part. We all know how to go about this ... It’s the normal process of pitching for me.”
When asked about how worried fans were back in Chicago about the issue, Lester dismissed concerns and said that if it was a start during the course of the regular season, he’d be toeing the slab for the Cubs.
“It’s one of those things you have to go through to understand what it feels like,” he said. “It just feels like a total body deadness. Everybody puts a label on it like dead arm, but it’s nothing to be alarmed about. There’s no point in grinding through it right now. If it was April 15, it wouldn’t be an issue.”