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Arrieta pleased with second spring outing

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MESA, Ariz. -- For about eight pitches in the third inning on Sunday, Jake Arrieta felt as if he was throwing left-handed, which isn't a good thing when you're a right-handed pitcher.

In his second spring start, Arrieta gave up one run, walked three, and struck out five over three innings for the Cubs against the Athletics. He struck out five of the first eight batters he faced, then struggled with his release point, walking Mark Canha and Rajai Davis back-to-back in the third. That's when Arrieta felt as if he was using the opposite arm.

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MESA, Ariz. -- For about eight pitches in the third inning on Sunday, Jake Arrieta felt as if he was throwing left-handed, which isn't a good thing when you're a right-handed pitcher.

In his second spring start, Arrieta gave up one run, walked three, and struck out five over three innings for the Cubs against the Athletics. He struck out five of the first eight batters he faced, then struggled with his release point, walking Mark Canha and Rajai Davis back-to-back in the third. That's when Arrieta felt as if he was using the opposite arm.

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"Outside of the eight pitches I threw in the third when I felt left-handed, it was good," Arrieta said of his outing. "Working some kinks out still, there's room to grow. I feel great, feel the ball will start coming out a lot better over the next couple weeks."

Now, Arrieta is not ambidextrous like Pat Venditte. What's it like when a right-hander feels so out of whack?

"I told [pitching coach Chris Bosio], I didn't know if I was letting go of it here, here, here or here," Arrieta said, starting his arm high and dropping it a little lower with each time.

Video: CHC@OAK: Arrieta gets Lowrie swinging in the 1st

"It was one of those weird situations," he said. "It's better to have it now than June or July. I like the work. The walks, obviously, I don't like that. The feel will start to come around even more as I continue to progress."

Walks were an issue last season for Arrieta, who issued 76 after walking 48 in 2015 when he won the National League Cy Young Award. Last year, he did lead the NL with the lowest Batting Average of Balls In Play (.242).

"[Too many walks] limits your ability to pitch deep in the game in the seventh, eighth and ninth [innings], and as a starter, that's what you want to do is get 27 outs," Arrieta said. "I need to clean some things up still. It's a give and take there, but if you can manage some of the walks, which I'm confident I can, it'll be in my favor to do so."

Next up will be a side session of 60-65 pitches, and Arrieta knows he'll probably go five innings in his next Cactus League game. On the plus side, Arrieta didn't have any nervous energy -- he felt like a kid playing his first Little League game in his initial start -- and physically is fine.

The emphasis on Sunday was his fastball and changeup, and he was able to get two or three of the strikeouts on his change.

"It's a good sign for a second outing," Arrieta said. "I'll take it. There's things I need to improve, but it was good overall."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs, Jake Arrieta