NEW YORK — A gale of relief swirled from Des Moines to Citi Field on Sunday after the Cubs learned that mega prospect Kris Bryant suffered only a bruise on his left foot that will enable him to finish the season.
The third baseman is expected to remain at Triple-A Iowa for the rest of the season, but some pitching prospects may get called up when 25-man rosters are expanded on Sept. 1.
Cubs ace Jake Arrieta hopes the prospects don't cut into his time on the mound, since he would like a chance to finish the year as impressively as he displayed Sunday.
"I'd love to remain and finish the season with however many starts I have left," Arrieta said after striking out nine with a sharp curve and limiting the Mets to two hits in seven innings of a 2-1 victory over the Mets. "I feel fresh and healthy.
"I just want to make every start I have lined up to the end of September. If something comes up, I guess that will be addressed. But obviously I'd love to stay in the mix and finish out on a high note."
Arrieta, who has a 2.45 ERA since June 3, paused when informed that general manager Jed Hoyer said on Friday that the Cubs might have to get "creative" to give more starts in September to candidates.
"I don't know anything about it at this point," Arrieta said. "Sure, if something comes up, we'll be informed, deal with it and move forward."
After missing the first month because of a shoulder strain, Arrieta would like to continue his progression. He is two innings shy of his major league high of 1191/3 innings set with the Orioles in 2011, and he has six scheduled starts left.
Arrieta acknowledges he benefited from a change of scenery after being dealt from the Orioles — whom he'll face on Friday in his next start — a year ago.
"It was one of those things where I was at a point where one small thing needed to happen, and that happened to be it," Arrieta said. "I feel like I was in a situation where I was standing on the edge.
"I know there are guys who need looks and want to get looks, and that's part of transforming from a developing team to a winning team. You have to find out what you have to move forward. "
As for Bryant, a team executive said the third baseman, who has 40 home runs and 103 RBIs for Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, will return as soon as he's healthy. Cubs followers feared the worst after Bryant left after only two innings Saturday night, and X-rays on his big left toe were inconclusive.
Bryant fouled a pitch off his foot in a game a few days ago and attempted to play through the discomfort. He drew a walk in the first inning Saturday and felt pain while running to second on a force play. He played one more inning before going to a local hospital.
Extra innings: Arrieta got out of a jam in the third when shortstop Starlin Castro made a nice stop before flipping the ball to second baseman Javier Baez, who made a bare-handed catch and quick throw to complete a double play. "It's going to be awesome," Castro said of playing with Baez, who moved from short to second last month at Iowa before his promotion two weeks ago. "He plays like he's always been there." ... Outfielder Matt Szczur became the seventh Cubs player to make his major league debut this season and said he wasn't nervous because of his spring training experience and joining former Iowa teammates like Baez. ... Castro is batting .400 (26-for-65) in his last 16 games.
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