Cubs fall to Mariners as Lester hit hard, Schwarber exits early


Cubs fall to Mariners as Lester hit hard, Schwarber exits early

The Mariners roughed up Cubs left-hander Jon Lester for six runs, and Kyle Schwarber exited the game early with a sore left knee, as Seattle came away a 10-8 winner on Thursday in the Cactus League.

Making his spring debut, Lester allowed six runs — three of them earned — and seven hits over two innings while striking out three. The Cubs defense didn't help Lester's cause by collecting three second-inning errors, but Lester was also touched up for three doubles on the afternoon.

Starting in left field, Schwarber exited the game for the Cubs in the third inning after twisting his left knee on a throw to the plate in the second inning. After staying in the game and taking his at-bat in the top of the third, which was popped up to second for an out, Schwarber didn't feel right and opted to leave the game for precautionary reasons.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

According to a report from Carrie Muskat of, Schwarber will be re-evaluated on Friday and the injury is not expected to be serious.

"I don't think it'll be significant," Schwarber said to reporters after the game. "Hopefully a couple days and I'll be back out there again."

Jorge Soler, Kristopher Negron and Javier Baez all hit home runs to lead the Cubs' offense. Soler hit his first homer of the spring to lead off the second inning, while Negron hit a solo homer in the fifth and Baez collected a two-run shot in the seventh. Starting in center field, Baez was the only Cub with multiple hits on the afternoon, as he went 2-for-4.

The loss drops the Cubs to 1-8 in the Cactus League this spring as they've lost seven consecutive games. 

Texas Rangers hire Cubs' Shiraz Rehman to be assistant GM

Texas Rangers hire Cubs' Shiraz Rehman to be assistant GM

The changing of the guard continues for the Cubs this offseason. 

After the team hired a new hitting coach yesterday, it was reported today that they're losing a front office member: 

Rehman, who has been with the Cubs in the same position for the last seven years, will reportedly head up the Rangers' analytics department. According to the Chicago Tribune, Rehman's role was " evaluating existing systems, and recognizing and applying solutions in an effort to create competitive advantages for the organization." 

All reports indicate that he'll be doing similar analytic-based work with the Rangers. 

Chili Davis after being ousted by Cubs: 'There were multiple players in there I didn't connect with'

Chili Davis after being ousted by Cubs: 'There were multiple players in there I didn't connect with'

Chili Davis didn't go all scorched earth on the Cubs in a recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, but he had quite a lot to say after being ousted by the organization after just one year as the hitting coach.

The Cubs made Davis the scapegoat for an offense that faded down the stretch, struggling for the entire second half and scoring just 1 run in three of the final four games of the year.

When he was hired a year ago, Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon talked up Davis' impressive resume that includes a 19-year MLB career, two separate stints as a successful hitting coach with the Oakland A's and Boston Red Sox and a philosophy that they hoped would withstand the test of time in the game today, preaching more contact and using the opposite field.

Throughout the 2018 season, Maddon often commended Davis for his ability to communicate with players, particularly in the area of mental approach to each at-bat.

Now that the dust has settled a bit on his firing, Davis felt he had some issues getting through to some Cubs players.

I learned a lot this year," Davis told the Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer. "I learned that the next situation I get in, before I say yes to a job, I need to make sure I know the personnel I'll be dealing with in the clubhouse. I hope the next guy connects better with the players, because I felt that there were multiple players there I didn't connect with. It wasn't that I didn't try; it just wasn't there.

The Cubs hired Anthony Iapoce as their new hitting coach Monday afternoon. Iapoce comes over from the Rangers and has a direct link to John Mallee, who was the Cubs' hitting coach for three seasons before being let go when Davis became available last winter. 

Iapoce also spent three seasons with the Cubs as a special assistant to the GM, overseeing the organization's minor-league hitting from 2013-15. Presumably, he found a way over those years to connect with the Cubs' top young hitting prospects — guys like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras that are now leading the big-league lineup.

Hopefully he has better success at this than I did," Davis said of Iapoce in the Sun-Times article. "But regardless of who's there, certain players there are going to have to make some adjustments because the game's changed and pitchers are pitching them differently. They're not pitching to launch angles and fly balls and all that anymore. They're pitching away from that. They're going to have to make that adjustment whether I'm there or not.

Davis had a whole lot more to say on the matter and I encourage you to read the full interview with Wittenmyer over at

A healthy Bryant very likely could've changed everything for Davis and the Cubs' 2018 lineup. Contreras hitting like he's capable of in the second half would've made a huge difference, as well.

But the end result is a finish to the 2018 campaign that was viewed universally as a disappointment — particularly in the offensive department — and the Cubs are left with their third different hitting coach in three seasons.