- Associated Press - Friday, September 29, 2017

CHICAGO (AP) - Jake Arrieta will miss his final regular-season start for the Chicago Cubs to rest before the playoffs.

Manager Joe Maddon said the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner will skip his turn for the defending World Series champions when they wrap up the regular season against Cincinnati on Sunday.

“He’s not pitching on Sunday,” Maddon said after Friday’s 5-4 win over the Reds. “He’s not. That’s official.”

Mike Montgomery will start Sunday.

Maddon said Arrieta will pitch in simulated games next week and that the Cubs will determine his next start based on how he responds. The veteran right-hander strained his right hamstring on Sept. 4 and didn’t pitch again until Sept. 21. He lasted three innings Tuesday against St. Louis - his second-shortest outing this season.

“I feel great,” Arrieta said. “When my time comes, I’ll be ready to go.”

The Cubs clinched their second straight NL Central title this week and are eyeing another deep run after winning the World Series for the first time since 1908 last year.

Maddon is confident Arrieta (14-10, 3.53 ERA) will be available during the NL Division Series against Washington. The question is whether he starts Game 3 or Game 4, if necessary, at Wrigley Field.

Arrieta had been on a tear before the injury, with a 6-1 record and 1.59 ERA in his first nine starts following the All-Star break.

“A real healthy Jake pitching like he can is very important to us,” Maddon said. “There’s no question about that. Moving forward right now, that was a significant injury. We’re trying to get him back to being more normal Jake. He can be very large for us in that next series coming up.”

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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