Cashner back in Chicago and a little on edge

Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner has moved on from his time as a Cub. Brad Mills/US Presswire

CHICAGO -- The last remark made by the media to former Chicago Cubs pitcher Andrew Cashner was an innocuous one about his right arm and how it must be feeling fine.

Apparently it’s off limits to go there with Cashner, now of the San Diego Padres, who responded in a huff and essentially took a happy-go-lucky welcome-back interview into awkward depths. The discussion ended there and the right-hander walked off, seemingly proud of himself.

Maybe all things Chicago bug Cashner, he of the powerful right arm who was traded out of the organization not long after Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer arrived.

Sorry, but the health of that right arm is sort of relevant. Hoyer just spent some time Sunday saying that live pitching arms are the club’s goal in next week’s draft. Maybe because Cashner went through a rotator cuff strain last season, new management didn’t think his powerful right arm was a safe bet for the long term. Who knows?

Whatever it was, the Cubs were able to acquire Anthony Rizzo in the multi-player deal with the Padres in January. But don’t ask about the high-profile swap among players with huge upsides. Cashner doesn’t want to talk about that either.

Cashner said he still keeps in touch with James Russell and he saw Kerry Wood's last outing live on television and sent him a text to remind his one-time teammate that he was his idol. But mostly he’s turned the page on the Cubs chapter of his life and is looking forward to what San Diego has to offer.

“I've always wanted to play for a manager that was a pitching coach and with Buddy (Black) and (pitching coach Darren Balsley) both they've been a big help for me,” Cashner said. “In spring training I cleaned up a little bit of my delivery and I feel like I’ve been throwing the ball a lot better this year with a lot more action on my pitches.”

Those who know him were surprised by the way he carried himself Sunday. He’s known as a likeable kid, even if he did read way too much into a question from somebody hoping that all was well with his health.