A real nail-biter: No in­jury for Yu

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - BY STEVE GREENBERG, STAFF RE­PORTER sgreen­berg@sun­times.com | @SLGreen­berg

It wasn’t what any­body wanted to wit­ness.

The Cubs were one false move from hav­ing the wind punched right out of their guts.

But here we go, be­ing overly dra­matic again. Sorry about that. Noth­ing to see here, folks.

Yu Darvish is fine.

Darvish was pitch­ing in an in­trasquad game Thurs­day at Wrigley Field when — al­ways scary with a pitcher with his in­jury his­tory — he stepped off the mound and be­gan star­ing into the home dugout.

Out came head trainer P.J. Mainville, along with man­ager David Ross and pitch­ing coach Tommy Hot­tovy. Darvish, whom many ex­pect to get the Open­ing Day as­sign­ment, has had Tommy John surgery. Since join­ing the Cubs be­fore the 2018 sea­son, he has dealt with pain in his tri­ceps and el­bow. What now?

A ‘‘mi­nor fin­ger­nail is­sue,’’ ac­cord­ing to a team spokesman. That’s it. Af­ter the four men stood around awhile and stared at Darvish’s right in­dex fin­ger, the righthande­r stayed on the mound, threw one warmup pitch, nod­ded at catcher Vic­tor Cara­tini and that was that.

Darvish re­tired Steven Souza ona pop-up to end the sec­ond in­ning and stayed in for four more outs, end­ing a suc­cess­ful out­ing in which he gave up one hit and struck out two.

He’s clearly on track to start the opener, but so is right-han­der Kyle Hen­dricks if Ross chooses to go that route. Hen­dricks threw four in­nings Thurs­day, al­low­ing one run on a home run by Kyle Sch­war­ber.

These are the two best — and two most stretched-out — starters the Cubs have. But Darvish was the one given $126 mil­lion to lead the way. He’s over­due.

Q wait­ing

Ross gave a some­what-promis­ing up­date on left-han­der Jose Quin­tana, whose start to camp was de­layed by fin­ger surgery af­ter he sliced one on his pitch­ing hand while wash­ing dishes.

Quin­tana was at Wrigley, work­ing his legs and shoul­ders and seem­ingly pro­gress­ing with no changes to ex­pec­ta­tions for an up­date in about a week.

‘‘We don’t get to see be­hind the mask much,’’ Ross said, ‘‘but when the mask is down and his smile is out, it’s in­fec­tious. He gives us great en­ergy around here.’’

Is it 2021 yet?

The Cubs’ sched­ule for 2021 was re­leased be­fore this sea­son be­gan. They’ll open at home April 1 against the Pirates.

Crosstown Show­down games against the White Sox will be Aug. 6-8 at Wrigley and Aug. 27-29 at Guar­an­teed Rate Field. For the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive sea­son, the Cubs will face the Amer­i­can League Cen­tral in in­ter­league play.

This and that

First base­man An­thony Rizzo, out with back stiff­ness, made him­self con­spic­u­ous dur­ing the in­trasquad game. At one point, he turned up in the bleach­ers in full uni­form — and hold­ing a bat — chang­ing rows a few times. He also watched a half-in­ning with his back against the out­field ivy in left, ap­pear­ing to pester Sch­war­ber through­out.

Catcher Will­son Con­tr­eras crushed his sec­ond homer of camp, with the ball bounc­ing off the sec­ond-to-top bench in the bleach­ers in left and bound­ing out of the park and onto Wave­land Av­enue.

Short­stop Javy Baez made one of his sig­na­ture tags, pick­ing a two-hop throw from right fielder Ian Happ and snap­ping his glove on Nico Ho­erner be­fore Ho­erner could slide in safely for a dou­ble.

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