Arrieta takes to Twitter to interact with fans

NL CY Young Award winner shows off beard, expresses desire to win Silver Slugger

Arrieta takes to Twitter to interact with fans

CHICAGO -- Jake Arrieta took a break from his offseason workouts -- and took advantage of what he called a rare quiet moment at home -- to show off his beard and answer fans' questions on Twitter.

The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner posted a photo of his facial hair, which he had significantly trimmed after the season ended. A fan suggested the Cubs players have some friendly competition to see who can grow the biggest beard. Arrieta acknowledged new teammate Jason Heyward had some "strong fuzz" and the outfielder agreed, responding with a caricature.

After winning 22 games and throwing a no-hitter last year, Arrieta was asked whether he wanted to win Most Valuable Player or lead the NL in home runs. The pitcher's response? "I take hitting very seriously, I want that silver bat," he said, referring to the Silver Slugger Award.

Why does Arrieta wear No. 49? It's the number he was given when traded to the Cubs in 2013, and he acknowledges, "it has been pretty good to me."

Fans will be happy to know Arrieta has packed his mustache onesie, which he wore in Los Angeles after throwing the no-hitter against the Dodgers on Aug. 30 and was part of manager Joe Maddon's pajama party plane ride back to Chicago.

His pick in Sunday's big game? It's the Panthers. Arrieta says: "After all the garbage the Cam [Newton] has dealt with this year, I'd like to see them win it."

The father of two ended the impromptu session because his kids wanted to play on the trampoline. Soon, they'll be in Mesa, Ariz., for Spring Training. Cubs pitchers and catchers report Feb. 19.

Besides setting a career high in wins, Arrieta also posted personal bests in ERA (1.77), games started (33), innings pitched (229) and strikeouts (236). And those numbers don't include his three postseason starts. He kept fans updated on his offseason workouts on Twitter as well. The Cubs aren't concerned about that workload affecting Arrieta this year.

"I think we'll just be smart about it with how he goes about it in Spring Training and how we try to manage his workload early in the season and ease him into it," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said during the Cubs Convention. "But I think the fact that he was able to throw that many innings last year and stay healthy throughout the whole season is a really good sign for him handling a significant workload [in 2016]. I think we'll just try to be smart about it and keep him really fresh for the most important time of year."

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