MESA, Ariz. -- Both Cubs manager Joe Maddon and Yu Darvish kept an eye on Jacob Arrieta this offseason to see where the right-hander would sign, but for different reasons.
"Primarily, he came here to be a Cub, and he did that, and he ascended to a Cy Young [in 2015] and three years of playoffs -- wow," Maddon said of Arrieta, who signed with the Phillies. "I want nothing but good things to happen to Jake. I want what's best for him."
The Cubs signed Darvish to take Arrieta's spot in the rotation, and on Sunday, Darvish made his second spring start, giving up two runs on four hits over 3 1/3 innings against the Athletics.
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At the start of the offseason, Darvish and Arrieta were considered the top two free-agent starting pitchers available. Darvish signed his six-year deal with the Cubs in mid-February. It took Arrieta another month to find a match.
"First of all, I think it's a good thing that Jake has a team," Darvish said. "He really succeeded with the Cubs, so I always had in mind [to watch] where he was going to go. I'm glad he ended up somewhere."
And Darvish is happy to be with the Cubs.
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"I love the team," Darvish said. "There's a lot of freedom, there's room for everyone to grow. First time pitching on the visitor side [on Sunday], I was amazed at how many fans were here [at Hohokam Stadium]. I like the vibe of the whole team."
He threw 55 pitches, although 20 came in the first inning. He struck out the side in the second, relying on a changeup, fast curveball and fastball to get Stephen Piscotty, Dustin Fowler and Matt Chapman, respectively.
"Right now, I'm where I should be," Darvish said. "All of my pitches, like the fastball, changeup and all the cutters were all up there. I usually have trouble with one pitch I need to work on, but everything is going well."
Darvish got some offensive help in the second when Kyle Schwarber and Chris Gimenez hit back-to-back homers.
Maddon didn't watch Darvish's two World Series starts against the Astros, but he heard about the allegations that the right-hander was tipping his pitches.
"I have my thoughts about what went wrong," Maddon said. "I don't want to talk about them. I didn't see the performances, but hearing and listening, I think I have an idea of what went wrong. That's what I've got in my pocket.
"I think you have a really motivated guy right now in Darvish, and I think he's going to come out feeling he may have something to prove a little bit. I like that attitude combined with that stuff. I've talked about this organic change. Knowing what happened with him and the Dodgers, I think our method might be different and get a different result in a positive way. I have faith in the guy."
One of the reasons Darvish signed with the Cubs is the opportunity to get back to the World Series. Maddon has emphasized that players should play the game the same way in October as they do in May or August.
"If you do it a certain way all year long, then here comes October, maybe November, that you go out there the same cat and don't try to be anything different [he'll be fine]," Maddon said.
And Darvish's motivation? It's not just a chance to get back to the postseason.
"It comes off the postseason, but more than that, just being a Cub in general," Darvish said.