MESA, Ariz. (AP) — NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta struck out four in two perfect innings of his spring debut as the Chicago Cubs lost to the Cleveland Indians 5-3 Wednesday.
Arrieta registered 96 mph on the stadium scoreboard radar gun with his fastball.
“The ball was coming out effortlessly,” Arrieta said.
Corey Kluber, who won the AL Cy Young in 2014, pitched three scoreless innings for the Indians. He gave up two singles in the second and later walked Dan Vogelbach to fill the bases with two out before retiring Juan Perez on a groundout.
Kluber struck out four.
Yan Gomes and Giovanny Urshela homered for the Indians.
Jose Candelario and John Andreoli homered for the Cubs.
Cleveland prospect Tyler Naquin was 1 for 3 with a triple and a walk. He’s hitting .444 this spring.
Indians: Kluber, Cleveland’s opening day starter, has pitched five scoreless innings this spring and allowed only two hits.
Cubs: Arrieta threw 31 pitches, 20 for strikes, and was pleased with his command. He mostly kept the ball down in the zone, except for one intentionally high four-seam fastball he used to set up a breaking ball that struck out Robbie Grossman for the final out in the second.
Arrieta and the Cubs considered sending the ace out for a third inning, but the team decided against it.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER CY: The Cubs got to face both 2014 Cy Young winners on successive days. On Tuesday, the Cubs went against 2014 NL Cy Young winner and Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
Indians: Outfielder Michael Brantley, who is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, was scheduled to take batting practice in the cages on Wednesday. The team said it is possible he may take batting practice on the field this weekend.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said his primary interest in his starting pitchers is, of course, their effectiveness on the mound, but he’s pleased his hurlers can swing the bat a little, too. Arrieta hit two homers last season and John Lackey was a position player through junior college. Maddon even sees potential for Jon Lester, who hit .065 with 30 strikeouts in 2015, his first season in the National League and the first time he reached double figures in plate appearances in the majors.
“A lot of people made fun of it, but I really like Jon’s swing,” Maddon said. “And toward the end of the season, it started to pay some dividends.”
Indians: Right-hander Carlos Carrasco leads Cleveland against the Padres and right-hander Tyson Ross on Thursday in Goodyear.
Cubs: Jon Lester will start for the Cubs when they take on the Mariners and Wade Miley in a matchup of left-handers Thursday in Peoria.