A real nail-biter: No injury for Yu
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.
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.