CHICAGO — Jake Arrieta says it is “flattering” that “some of the best players in the game” are spreading rumors that Arrieta is using performance-enhancing drugs.
The National League Cy Young Award winner and Chicago Cubs ace didn’t name names Tuesday but says his teammates have heard rumors from other players that the right-hander has used PEDs to fuel his emergence with the Cubs. As manager Joe Maddon says “we’ve all become suspicious” in baseball.
Arrieta went from hyped prospect to disappointing big leaguer while with the Orioles but has transformed into one of the game’s best pitchers since a trade to Chicago in 2013. He has two no-hitters in his last 11 regular season starts, including last week against Cincinnati.
Arrieta says he’s thrown up to 98 mph for years and has “always been in good shape,” adding that he “just (stunk) early in my career.”
Arrieta is a strong supporter of the drug-testing policy adopted in conjunction with the players’ union.
“If there are guys still on it, I hope they get caught,” Arrieta said in an interview with USA Today Sports. “I care about the integrity of the game. I wouldn’t want to disappoint my family, my friends, my fans. That’s a huge motivating factor in doing it the right way.
He continued: “There are so many people that are counting on you, and leaning on all of us in this clubhouse to do some special things for the city of Chicago. To jeopardize that by taking banned substances, would be a ridiculous mistake.”
Arrieta says he’s in good shape because of genetics and because “I eat plants and I eat lean proteins.”