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Cubs vs. Athletics at Mesa preview, Thursday 2/28, 2:05 CT

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The Cubs return home to Mesa Thursday afternoon.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

MESA, Arizona — During the two innings Yu Darvish threw on Tuesday, I noticed that he was working very slowly. Had the pitch clock been in actual effect, he would have had several violations.

Joe Maddon noticed too:

The Cubs are trying to get Yu Darvish to work at a quicker tempo to help keep his defenders alert.

“Sometimes he will get caught in the moment and revert and get into a little slower pace between pitches,” manager Joe Maddon said. “I’d love to see him speed things up. He knows that. I think more time between pitches, the more time you have to overthink something. I’d rather him get the ball and throw it. And that’s it.”

Well, that’s what spring training is for. Working on these sorts of things. Darvish should be scheduled to throw again on Sunday. I’ll be watching his pace. And I’m sure Joe will, too.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Almora CF, Zobrist DH, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Baez SS, Schwarber LF, Heyward RF, Descalso 2B, Davis C

It’s the first spring appearance for Ben Zobrist. Also, Jason Heyward returns after being excused for a personal matter Tuesday.

Athletics lineup:

Fowler RF, Barreto LF, Laureano CF, Canha 1B, Herrmann DH, Phegley C, Neuse 3B, Pennington 2B, Mateo SS

That’s Dustin Fowler, not Dexter.

Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs. Also scheduled for the Cubs today: Brian Duensing, Brandon Kintzler, George Kontos, Randy Rosario, Jen-Ho Tseng and Allen Webster

Our old buddy Brett Anderson will go for the A’s. Other A’s pitchers today: Chris Bassitt, Liam Hendriks, Andrew Triggs, former Cub Jake Buchanan, Parker Dunshee and Kyle Finnegan.

Today’s game is on No TV today. Gameday

Please note that during spring training, Gameday doesn’t usually go pitch-by-pitch as it does during the regular season -- usually, it will update after each at-bat.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today.

Please visit our SB Nation Athletics site Athletics Nation. If you do go there to interact with A’s fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

For spring-training games, we’ll have a first-pitch thread at five minutes to game time and one overflow thread, 90 minutes after game time (because I know how you all like overflow threads!). For today, that will be 2 p.m. CT and 3:30 p.m. CT.

These threads will not post individually onto the front page; instead, you can find links to them in the box marked ”Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page. There will also be a StoryStream on the front page with all the game thread links, as well as the recap after the game is over. The pitcher boxes and regular-season stats will return on Opening Day.

Discuss amongst yourselves.