MLB Quick Hits: Cubs’ Lester back in action

Jon Lester was 16-11 with a 2.46 ERA last season.

Joe Camporeale/Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Cubs ace Jon Lester skipped a start last week due to a "dead arm," but he was back on the mound Thursday for an intrasquad game. Lester threw four innings, and looked fine by all accounts. After the game, Lester said, "Any time you pitch for a living, you’re never really past the dead-arm phase," but he’s on target to make his Opening Day start.

MLB & Fantasy News and Notes

In other news … 

Indians 2B Jason Kipnis (back) looked good in his return to action on Thursday, hitting a single and making a diving stop in the field.

Kipnis’ teammate, Danny Salazar, got rocked in his latest start, and he’s far from a lock for a rotation spot.

Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said Thursday that Yasmany Tomas might start the season in the minors. Being unable to field a position is apparently a problem in the National League. Go figure.

Angels OF Kole Calhoun was hit in the right arm by a pitch on Thursday. The team said it was just a bruise, and hope that Calhoun can play today.

White Sox closer David Robertson has some soreness in his right forearm, but says it’s so minor that an MRI isn’t even scheduled. Yes, I was nervous when I first heard this news, too.

In other White Sox news,’s Jon Paul Morosi thinks pitching prospect Carlos Rodon should start the season in the major league rotation.

More Indians: SS prospect Francisco Lindor was sent to the minors, so speedy Jose Ramirez is the team’s starting shortstop. Ramirez’s teammates had a little fun with him after the announcement.

Kris Bryant played left field on Thursday, and threw a runner out at second base for an inning-ending double play. He also leapt a tall building in a single bound, and rescued an old lady’s kitten from a tree. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, though.

In Red Sox news, Rusney Castillo is making the team’s right-field decision difficult, while Koji Uehara (hamstring) had an encouraging throwing session on Thursday. Expect Uehara to start the season on the DL, but probably not for very long. Don’t get sucked into paying an extra dollar or two for Ed Mujica because you think he’ll get a bunch of saves.

Here are some quotes from Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez about the team’s lineup, which could include "soft platoons" in left field and third base. Note to Gonzalez: If "soft" has anything to do with playing Jonny Gomes against righties, it’s not a good idea. Gomes has a .721 career OPS against righhanders, and an .861 mark versus lefties.

Phillies 3B Cody Asche was scratched Thursday due to a sore back, and might miss another day or two. Nothing to worry about, NL-only owners.

Our positional rankings will be updated later today, just in time for your weekend drafts. If you have any questions before things get started, send me a tweet (@jhalpin37).

See you back here Monday morning.