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Yu Darvish is throwing ‘the best stuff in my life’

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The Cubs and Yu Darvish didn’t get off on the right foot after agreeing on a six-year, $126 million contract in February last year. Darvish made eight ineffective starts and otherwise was absent due to elbow and triceps injuries. The right-hander underwent debridement surgery in September.

Darvish started against the White Sox in a Cactus League game on Sunday afternoon and fared quite well as he works his way back to form. He held the opposition hitless with three strikeouts. After the game, Darvish was quite optimistic about his performance. Via The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney), Darvish said, “I’m throwing 97 [MPH] and the slider was very good and the split was good, too, so that’s the best stuff in my life.”

That’s a slight variation on “I’m in the best shape of my life.” Not to poke too much fun, because a healthy and effective Darvish is a fun Darvish. The 32-year-old entered last season with a 3.42 ERA and 1,021 strikeouts in 832 1/3 career innings.

Darvish will hope to be a mainstay in a Cubs starting rotation that also includes Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, Kyle Hendricks, and José Quintana.

Trea Turner undergoes surgery on right index finger

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Nationals shortstop Trea Turner underwent surgery on his right index finger, MLB.com’s Manny Randhawa reports. Turner suffered a non-displaced fracture when he was hit by a pitch attempting to bunt in early April.

Turner missed six weeks of action and played through the injury for the remainder of the season. He was quite successful, batting .298/.353/.497 with 19 home runs, 57 RBI, 96 runs scored, and 35 stolen bases across 569 plate appearances. Turner’s performance, especially late in the regular season, helped the Nationals claim the first NL Wild Card. They, of course, would go on to win the World Series.

Turner, who is expected to be healed up by the start of spring training, will be entering his second of four years of arbitration eligibility. He will likely get a sizable raise on his $3.725 million 2019 salary.