Chatwood works on curveball in 3rd spring start

Right-hander tries to get feel for pitch while facing Padres

March 8th, 2018

MESA, Ariz. -- did a little experimenting Thursday in his third Cactus League start for the Cubs.

"I threw some curveballs that I normally wouldn't throw in those counts to get a feel for it," Chatwood said after his outing, in which he gave up one run on two hits and two walks over three innings in the Cubs' 10-4 win over the Padres. "Right now is a time for us to get a feel for those pitches so when we go into the season, we'll have them. There are definitely things we're working on out there."

And by testing reactions to his pitches, Chatwood may surprise batters with an unexpected curve.

"It's just a matter of finding that feel," he said. "I'll try to build off that."

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The right-hander got plenty of run support in the Cubs' victory in front of 12,569 at Sloan Park. The Cubs scored five runs in the second inning, rattling off six straight hits, including an RBI single by , two-run double by , and RBI doubles by and .

Chatwood also got to see his new teammates play well in the field. Russell made back-to-back stellar plays.

"I'm a big ground-ball guy, so having those guys, they're pretty elite out there," Chatwood said. "Having those guys play behind me will be a lot of fun."

Camp battles

was back atop the Cubs' lineup Thursday for the eighth game, but manager Joe Maddon isn't ready to commit to him or anyone else as the full-time leadoff hitter.

"It's really wide open, and I'm not hyper-concerned about that either," Maddon said. "I think that's been overblown with us. If you look at the numbers last year, the eventual number of runs scored was pretty darn good."

The Cubs ranked second in the National League with 822 runs, using 11 different leadoff hitters.

"Would I love to have Rickey Henderson? Absolutely," Maddon said. "Lou Brock would be a good option, too. If you don't have that, it's about trying to match up your better on-base percentage guy who you're willing to take that opportunity with."

The Cubs have experimented with four different leadoff hitters so far. Happ now is 9-for-21 with four homers, one triple, two doubles and eight RBIs in eight games in the No. 1 spot.

is 1-for-6 in two games batting leadoff so far, Albert Almora Jr. is 0-for-7 in three games there, and is 0-for-3 in one game.

Injury updates

• Catcher has been sidelined since suffering a concussion last Friday during a live batting practice session in which he was catching . Davis said he was hit on the head by a foul tip.

"I've gotten hit in the face before, and I've gotten hit in the head," Davis said Thursday. "I've never had this before."

On Wednesday, Davis said he finally felt "like a human being" and was able to go out for lunch.

"I'm thankful to be feeling good again," he said.

In other injury updates, the Cubs want pitcher to take it easy after feeling some tightness in his right shoulder in Wednesday's game. Simmons walked two batters in the fourth inning and was pulled. His status is day to day, and no tests are scheduled.

Reliever threw a bullpen session Thursday. He has been out with a sore left calf and was not scheduled to pitch in any games yet.

Garner asks about exit velocity

On Thursday, was trying to figure out the exit velocity of the line drive hit by the Indians' in the third inning Wednesday night. Garner didn't have much time to react, but stuck his glove out and snared the ball.

"It was so fast, it was moving in slow motion," Garner said. "I saw it the whole way."

How fast did it seem?

"If I was going to be accurate, it was 100 percent over 100 miles an hour," Garner said.

His hand felt fine until a few innings later, when he felt some soreness. He's not expected to miss any time.

Up next: will make his third spring start on Friday when the Cubs play host to the Angels at Sloan Park in Mesa. Game time is 2:05 p.m. CT. In his first two outings, Lester has given up two runs on four hits and four walks over 4 1/3 innings while striking out six. The game will be broadcast on 670 The Score and can be viewed on MLB.TV.

Looking ahead, the Cubs have split-squad games on Saturday; will face the White Sox, while will start the night game against the Dodgers. 's next scheduled start will be Sunday against the Athletics.