New Cub Chris Gimenez on pal Yu Darvish: ‘I like [Jon] Lester better’

MESA, Ariz. — Is Chris Gimenez the Cubs’ new David Ross?

Sure, if that’s measured in hours of media coverage, based on the crowd at his locker Wednesday for the first round of clubhouse access this spring.

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But Yu Darvish’s one-time personal catcher, who was signed just ahead of the right-hander, is no Darvish security blanket, as Ross was for Jon Lester.

New Cubs catcher Chris Gimenez, left, with new Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish in 2014.

“I like [Willson] Contreras better,” Darvish said, smiling, when asked about Gimenez on Tuesday.

That’s OK, Gimenez said.

“I like [Jon] Lester better,” he said with a laugh.

Despite a social-media storm of Darvish speculation when Gimenez signed a minor-league deal last month, Cubs officials made it clear that bringing in the favorite to win the backup catching job was more about Gimenez’s experience and the Cubs’ catching needs than the part of one season he spent with Darvish with the Rangers.

That said, Gimenez did talk to Darvish about the Cubs after signing, his opinions based largely on his experience with manager Joe Maddon with the Rays.

New Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey was the Rays’ pitching coach at the time.

“I just tried to portray what I thought of the organization, knowing what Joe brings to the table,” Gimenez said. “I can’t take credit for [Darvish signing]. He’s got 126 million reasons to come here. I’m not one of them.

“And, like he said, he likes Contreras better.”

Follow me on Twitter @GDubCub.

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com