Yu Darvish strong, Kyle Schwarber powerful in Cubs’ spring-training loss to A’s

MESA, Ariz. — Big-ticket Cubs starter Yu Darvish threw 55 pitches in his second start of the spring for the Cubs, striking out five, pitching one out deep into the fourth and giving up two runs – one that scored after he left the game. The Cubs eventually lost the Cactus League game to the Athletics 7-2 at HoHoKam Park.

After a one-out double in the first, followed by his only walk of the game, Darvish retired five straight, including four consecutive strikeouts.

“I think right now I’m really where I should be,” Darvish said in Japanese. “All of my pitches, fastball, changeup, cutters, those were all [good]. I usually have trouble with one pitch that needs work [in March], but at this point, everything seems very good.”

With possible bargains to be had as FA market peters out, Cubs to stand pat
Cubs glad to avoid Jake Arrieta in division, happier ex-Cub finally lands deal

Schwarber takes a cut earlier this spring.

The Cubs fell to 11-4-3 after losing back-to-back games for the first time this spring.


Kyle Schwarber launched a no-doubt homer to right with two out in the second (followed by another homer from Chris Gimenez on the next pitch) for an early lead.

It was Schwarber’s fifth consecutive start with an extra-base hit – third homer in five days.

He’s 9-for-27 (.333) this spring with five walks (.438 on-base percentage) and a .704 slugging percentage.

Baez update

Second baseman Javy Baez, who has been out of the lineup since experiencing tightness in his left hamstring Thursday, isn’t scheduled to play until at least the middle or end of next week.

But as he hurried to treatment Sunday morning, he said: “I’m good, I can tell you that. I’m 110 percent.”

Said GM Jed Hoyer: “Tell him 125’s what we’re looking for.”

First blemish for Wilson

Left-hander Justin Wilson, who’s trying to rebound this season from a command-challenged finish to last season after a trade to the Cubs, gave up a one-out solo homer to Sean Murphy during his one inning of work – the first run he has allowed this spring.

But he retired the three others he faced, including a strikeout, and has not walked a batter in four outings this spring.

Happ watch

The hottest leadoff candidate in camp for the Cubs this spring didn’t play Sunday, but he walked in three trips to the plate during Saturday’s late night game against the Dodgers.

He’s 9-for-23 (.391) with three walks (.481 OBP) and seven extra-base hits (1.087 slugging) in nine games this spring – all batting leadoff.

On deck

After a day off Monday, Cubs play a split-squad doubleheader: Cubs at Padres, Peoria, Ariz., Mike Montgomery vs. TBA, 3:10 p.m. Tuesday, cubs.com audio; Giants at Cubs, Mesa, Ariz., Madison Bumgarner vs. Tyler Chatwood, 9:05 p.m. Tuesday, cubs.com audio.

Follow me on Twitter @GDubCub.

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com