Maddon gives unique praise to Jake Arrieta after Cubs’ first win of 2015

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Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta delivers a pitch during the team's 2-0 win over the Cardinals at Wrigley Field on Wednesday afternoon.

CHICAGO – The closest that one might come to thinking of her in relation to baseball is when she was by Ted Turner’s side during the Braves’ heyday at Fulton County Stadium.

But the ever jovial and creative Joe Maddon had an 80’s fitness icon front and center at Wrigley Field on Tuesday.

“This guy should probably do the next Jane Fonda video on the male side of things,” said the Cubs’ manager when asked about Jake Arrieta. “Put the leggings on.”

An odd reference but a fitting one to the manager after the pitcher got Maddon his first win as manager of the Cubs. Arrieta was superb in his seven innings of shutout baseball that aided his team’s 2-0 victory over the Cardinals Wednesday afternoon.

The six-year veteran cut through the chilly temperatures and misty fog to strikeout seven St. Louis batters and surrender just three hits. To explain the feat Maddon first thought of Arrieta’s solid work ethic and then made the connection, albeit an odd one, with Fonda.

“This guy’s workout is incredible and he deserves everything that he’s gotten,” said Maddon of Arrieta, who got his 35th career win on Wednesday afternoon. “I saw him at Baltimore. I’m seeing him right now. He’s definitely matured as a major league pitcher.

“This guy’s really good.”

A really hard worker too and Maddon wasn’t the only one to say that.

“He’s a freak,” said Montero when asked about Arrieta’s workouts. “He’s working every day and I’m like ‘C’mon, really?’ That’s Jake. He’s a different cat for sure.”

While not delving into the details of his workout routine Arrieta said that he does take pride in his workouts as a way to remain an effective pitcher in the Cubs rotation. Like his craft on the mound Arrieta said that he's constantly tweaking what he does in training for the sake of longevity.

"The biggest thing for me is the long haul and how can I prepare myself for that," said Arrieta.  "I've change the routine from year-to-year, add somethings, take some things away. Just trying to be a dependable, reliable guy in our rotation every five days.

"In formulating a routine, a workout routine, a recovery routine that works is something that I have to do to be that type of guy."

The strategy has worked since coming over to the Cubs after four seasons with the Orioles. Arrieta enjoyed the best season of his career in 2014 as he went 10-5 with a 2.50 ERA with 167 strikeouts in 156.2 innings.

While not there for his exploits of a season ago, Montero understands why his pitcher can succeed.

"He cares about everybody and he cares about himself. Makes sure he prepares himself for every five days," said Montero. "Even in spring training, he's locked in."

His 2015 season debut continued his upward trend for the future so will his routine with his well-respected workouts.

"Things will continue to change. I'll continue to evolve and develop over time," said Arrieta. "But I feel like the routine that I have in place is going to work for a while."

Maybe long enough for him to make that workout tape his manager's convinced is in his future.

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