CHICAGO -- The Cubs tweaked the rotation for their upcoming series against the Reds, which means Jake Arrieta won't pitch at Great American Ball Park on the anniversary of his second no-hitter, and Jon Lester won't face the Red Sox in Boston.
When the season began, Arrieta followed Lester, but the two were flipped after an off-day, April 6. Now, Lester will open the Cubs' series on Friday against the Reds, which will set him up to face the Pirates. But it will mean that he misses an Interleague series against his former team, the Red Sox, April 28-30. Lester has not faced Boston since he was traded in 2014, and he last pitched at Fenway Park on Sept. 24, 2014.
Arrieta had been scheduled to start Friday, which is the one-year anniversary of his second no-hitter. On April 21, 2016, the right-hander struck out six and walked four in a 16-0 victory over the Reds.
"We wanted to get it back to where it had been, and we like the way it sets up," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the rotation switch.
The Pirates rank last in the National League in batting average against lefties (.178), which is one of the reasons the Cubs want Lester to face them.
• On Friday, the Cubs will have a roster decision to make, when infielder Tommy La Stella is expected to be activated from the bereavement list. Right now, the Cubs are carrying eight relievers, and they'll have to determine whether they keep that many.
"It is a tough decision, a really difficult decision," Maddon said. "You're trying to weigh the potentialities of losing a player you'd like to keep, or exercising the rules that are in place and optioning a guy out. What do you think is necessary now and why?"
The Cubs' bench players in question include La Stella, a left-handed-hitting infielder who has options remaining, and Matt Szczur, a right-handed-hitting outfielder, who doesn't have options left.
Maddon said he's had a lot of discussions with Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer regarding their options.
"We'll see how this all plays out," Maddon said. "We haven't haven't concluded anything yet."
• The Cubs gave World Series rings on Wednesday to some of their alumni, including Glenn Beckert, Jose Cardenal, Jody Davis, Bob Dernier, Randy Hundley, Scott Sanderson, Lee Smith, and Steve Trout.
• Double-A Tennessee will have a World Series ring ceremony on Thursday. The presentation will take place on the field after the first game of a doubleheader against Birmingham.
The Cubs will be presenting 2016 World Series championship rings to Smokies manager Mark Johnson, the coaching staff and other baseball personnel. Also receiving rings will be the Smokies' owners, Jenny and Randy Boyd.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.