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Yu Darvish struggles with fastball in Cubs’ victory vs. Rangers

Yu Darvish throws his first pitch of Spring Training at Sloan Park, Mesa, AZ. 02-26-2019. | John Antonoff/For the Sun-Times


Hit and miss

Cubs starter Yu Darvish struggled with his fastball the first two innings but started using his slider more over the next two and got into the fifth inning, allowing only one run. He said he felt good by the time he finished and figures he’s where he needs to be at this point in camp. He also hit two Rangers batters, as he said he wanted to do when he faced his old team – albeit, neither was Rougned Odor or Joey Gallo; and neither was close to intentional. “I was trying,” he joked. “But that was just mistakes.” Asked if he’d heard from Odor and Gallo since joking with reporters that he wanted to hit them, he said, “No. I don’t know those guys’ numbers.”

Depth check and trade talk

Team president Theo Epstein said he believes the bullpen depth is better than last year and enough to withstand some of the early bumps, bruises and injuries afflicting the relief corps. He said talk this week about the Cubs looking at trade possibilities was misconstrued. “Obviously, we’re always looking to get better,” he said. “I don’t foresee anything significant at all at this time.”


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Descalso in doubt for opener?

Epstein said it’s too early to tell whether the sore shoulder that has sidelined infielder Daniel Descalso for the week will prevent him from opening the season on time. “We’ll have to see how he bounces back the next couple days,” Epstein said. “It’s certainly an injury he could be fully recovered from and be ready to go on Opening Day.” Descalso hasn’t played since Saturday.

Prospect watch

Infielder Nico Hoerner, the 2018 first-round draft pick who has gone 6-for-9 with four extra-base hits on loan from minor-league camp, is opening eyes all the way to the top of the organization. “Obviously, he’s played well, which is impressive,” Epstein said. “But I think even more significant is the way he’s handled himself. He’s impressed everybody with his work ethic and being a good teammate and being humble and acting appropriately. He’s had a real nice experience. I think his first full bona fide big league camp will be a lot easier for him now.” Epstein said the organization hasn’t determined whether to push Hoerner and start him at Class AA this season.

On deck

Cubs at White Sox, Glendale, 3:05 p.m. Friday, 670-AM, Cole Hamels vs. Lucas Giolito.