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Cubs 9, Rangers 5: Jason Heyward timeline uncertain, Cole Hamels’ spring debut


SURPRISE, Ariz. — Right fielder Jason Heyward, who was a late scratch from Tuesday’s lineup because of a personal issue, was out of the lineup again Wednesday, and manager Joe Maddon said the timeline for a return is uncertain.

“He’s going to make the call on that,” Maddon said. “But he is well. It’s just something personal that’s impacting him. . . . But he’s healthy. He’s fine.”

Heyward practiced Wednesday.

Hamels’ spring debut

Left-hander Cole Hamels (1-0), acquired by the Cubs in July and back this year after his club option was exercised, pitched two scoreless innings, working on little more than fastball command, as the Cubs beat the Rangers in the Cactus League game at Surprise Stadium.

“It was good, just to be able to get out there against guys that are actually swing the bat against you,” said Hamels, who expects to continue to focus on the fastball for at least one more start before fully mixing pitches.


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Catching fire

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, who says he pressed during a second half slump that only deepened after his first career All-Star appearance, hit his second extra-distance home run of the spring for a two-run shot to left in the second inning, after being hit by a pitch in the Cubs’ four-run first.

He also threw behind Asdrubal Cabrera at first base to pick him off to end the fourth inning.

Beans and cranks

Infielder David Bote returned to the lineup Wednesday for the first time after getting beaned Sunday by Madison Bumgarner, and then raked.

Bote singled to left off Edinson Volquez in the first and singled to right off Jesse Chavez in the second before a fourth-inning strikeout completed his 2-for-3 performance.

On deck

Athletics at Cubs, Mesa, 2:05 p.m. Thursday, radio, Chris Bassitt vs. Kyle Hendricks.