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Diamondbacks 5, Cubs 4: Yu Darvish makes spring debut in loss

Yu Darvish in the first inning of Tuesday's spring training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. / John Antonoff photo

MESA, Ariz. — Pitching in a game for the first time since an aborted Aug. 19 minor-league rehab start, Yu Darvish, the Cubs’ big-money right-hander, used a full array of pitches, his fastball reaching 96 mph during Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to the Diamondbacks in the Cactus League game at Sloan Park.

He struggled with command, particularly with his off-speed stuff, walked four and used up his pitch count three batters into the second inning. He didn’t allow a hit and didn’t strike out anyone.

Darvish called it “huge” that he was pain-free. As for the command issue: “I couldn’t throw strikes with the breaking ball,” he said. ”I never had that before. I’m a breaking-ball pitcher. I will get there next outing.”

Russell’s home debut

Shortstop Addison Russell, who has 28 games left to serve of his domestic-violence suspension, made his spring home debut, receiving more boos when announced than he did Sunday in Scottsdale against the Giants. But there was less booing than cheering Tuesday.

Russell said he’s bracing for a rough crowd reaction whenever he plays.

Finally retired

It may not seem like much, but third baseman Kris Bryant’s groundout to second with one out in the second inning was the first time he’d been retired in six spring plate appearances.

In three games before that: home run, single, walk, walk, walk.


• New Yu: ‘I’m smiling more than I have the last seven years,’ Cubs’ Darvish says

• ‘The helmet worked’: Cubs IF David Bote returns to practice after beaning

Heyward scratched

Jason Heyward, the leadoff hitter in the Cubs’ original lineup, was scratched just before game time for personal reasons.

His availability for Wednesday was not immediately clear.

On deck

Cubs at Rangers, Surprise, 2:05 p.m. Wednesday, Cole Hamels vs. Edinson Volquez.