MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta threw 30 pitches in a simulated game Sunday without feeling any effects of the stiff right shoulder that has sidelined him this spring.
Arrieta also threw about 30-35 pitches in the bullpen before taking the mound on the Cubs' practice field and facing live hitters.
Given the timing of the injury, Arrieta preached caution when it comes to his progression. He may not be ready in time for Opening Day, but he feels he shouldn't miss much time, assuming he can avoid any setbacks.
"Sometimes you get a feeling that you're uncertain with," Arrieta said. "That's where some of the caution comes. The last thing I want to do is be on the DL for three months, fighting to get on the field with my team. Only to miss a start or two, I think, isn't the worst case."
Should Arrieta not feel any unusual soreness Monday, he said the next step is throwing live batting practice sometime early in the week. If that goes according to plan, he's hopeful to see his first Cactus League action shortly thereafter.
Arrieta came over to the Cubs in a trade with Baltimore in July, and after making the move, he went 4-2 with a 3.66 ERA in nine starts. After a strong finish to the 2013 season, Arrieta doesn't think the injury will hinder his progress.
"It's just a week or two setback -- two starts," Arrieta said. "I think in the grand scheme of things, it's really not that big of an issue. It would have been nice to not miss these couple weeks, but I think health is the biggest priority."
Arrieta threw all of his pitches during the sim game and seemed to have no complaints about how the outing went. He was specifically pleased with the numbers on the radar gun.
"Today was really good," he said. "Everything felt crisp. I feel like the strength was good, the velocities were good. Those are all good signs."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less