After 'pen session, Lester confident he's on track

Left-hander sticking to routine, building arm strength in anticipation of Opening Night

After 'pen session, Lester confident he's on track

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs pitcher Jon Lester, scratched from his last start because of a tired arm, threw a bullpen session on Monday, and he said he's on schedule for Opening Night, April 5.

"Today was more getting out there, getting my feet under me and going through my normal routine," Lester said after the workout at the Cubs' complex. "The other stuff will be there. We're still in the process of building arm strength and arm speed, and that will come as the innings get higher.

"I've always felt it takes me a little longer, maybe toward the end of May, when you feel strong -- you feel good and just go through the five days with the games, throwing 100 something pitches every fifth day. It takes some time to where you're consistent with everything."

Right now, Lester is not worried about velocity, just building arm strength and staying healthy. He was scheduled to start on Thursday for the Cubs.

The Cubs and Lester decided to give him a "blow" to avoid risk of injury. There's been no pain or discomfort, Lester said.

"There was no worry there," Lester said. "We just needed to step back and take a break and get back to the normal five days."

Jake Arrieta also pitched in a Minor League game on Monday, which was an off-day for the rest of the team, and went six innings.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.