MESA, Ariz. -- Anthony Rizzo was on the golf course with his brother when he got the news that Yu Darvish was coming to the Cubs."My brother told me midswing and I shanked it," the Cubs first baseman said Monday. "I was ticked] at my brother."Rizzo was thrilled with the
MESA, Ariz. -- Anthony Rizzo was on the golf course with his brother when he got the news that Yu Darvish was coming to the Cubs.
"My brother told me midswing and I shanked it," the Cubs first baseman said Monday. "I was [ticked] at my brother."
Rizzo was thrilled with the news of Darvish's six-year, $126 million contract, which was officially announced on Tuesday, the day before Darvish was slated to be on the field for Cubs pitchers and catchers' first workout.
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"We already had a really good rotation," Rizzo said, "and getting another ace ... is something that will carry us through the season and set up our bullpen better, set up our team better, set up [Joe Maddon] better to manage the game.
"It's a big addition for us. Yu Darvish had a lot of teams and a lot of offers to go to, and it speaks volumes to what we're doing here and what we're about that he chose to come here."
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Darvish will join Jonathan Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood in the Cubs' rotation. Maddon, who was busy with coaches' meetings on Monday, was expected to talk about the newest Cubs pitcher on Tuesday.
"He knows how to pitch," Rizzo said of Darvish, a four-time All-Star who was 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA last season with the Rangers and Dodgers. "He knows how to pitch to weaknesses, and he knows how to stay on the corners. From what I've heard, he's a great teammate. That's even better than being a great pitcher, is being a great teammate."
Cubs reliever Justin Grimm was Darvish's teammate on the Rangers in 2012-13.
"I don't see any issue of him fitting in the clubhouse," Grimm said. "He's a lot like [Lester] -- he goes about his day and gets his work in and finishes up his day."
At the time they were both with Texas, Grimm said, Darvish relied on his slider.
"I think he's evolved more into a pitcher and throws more pitches," Grimm said. "It'll be huge coming here."
Darvish reportedly throws six pitches.
"I'm sure he has eight but he only throws six," Grimm said, laughing. "We'll see."
Most of the Cubs haven't seen much of Darvish, who has two career starts against them, including Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, which he and the Dodgers won last October at Wrigley Field. On July 16, 2016, the Cubs did beat Darvish and the Rangers at Wrigley Field, 3-1, and Rizzo hit a double off the right-hander, although the first baseman didn't remember it.
"Nice -- I'll bring that up," Rizzo said.
There already was a nice buzz early in Cubs camp. On Monday, Hendricks, Chatwood, Grimm, Steve Cishek, Dillon Maples and Luke Farrell were among the pitchers throwing in the bullpen. New pitching coach Jim Hickey was matching names with faces. He'll likely have one more pitcher to learn on Tuesday.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein provided an extra spark with the addition of Darvish.
"We're in a very good position from top to bottom," Rizzo said. "Every year, we're trying to compete. Theo and Co. are pushing every year, and it's nice that we continue to have that support from them and they believe in us."
"Darvish, Quintana, Lester, Hendricks, Chatwood -- woof," Grimm said. "Every five days is good. It'll definitely be exciting to watch."
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.