March 06, 2016

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Dexter Fowler showed with one big swing how happy he is to be back with the Chicago Cubs.

Fowler, who turned down a bigger contract and made a late decision to return to Chicago, homered for his first hit of the spring in the Cubs' 8-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

Fowler spurned a three-year, $33 million deal with Baltimore, to sign a one-year, $13 million contract with the Cubs on Feb. 25. He had turned down a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Chicago in November in order to test the free-agent market.

''My timing is coming around on the left side,'' the switch-hitting center fielder said. ''Right-handed still is a work in progress. But all in all, I feel good. I'm seeing the ball at the plate. That's the most important thing.''

Arizona starter Patrick Corbin went two innings, allowing two unearned runs and two hits. The left-hander, projected to be the Diamondbacks' No. 3 starter behind Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller, struck out three with no walks.

Jake Lamb was 2 for 3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored, but the third baseman committed Arizona's first error of the spring when he threw high to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in the second. The miscue cleared the way for the two unearned runs off Corbin.

''Corbin looked good, threw the ball well,'' Arizona manager Chip Hale said. ''You can tell when you don't make the plays, give the other team four outs, it gets tough. He gets a first-pitch groundball to third and we threw the ball away.''

Relief pitcher Rex Brothers, acquired by the Cubs in a November trade with Colorado, struggled mightily with his control in two-thirds of an inning. He gave up two runs and two hits with four wild pitches, one on a strikeout of Zach Borenstein that would have ended the fourth inning but instead allowed Socrates Brito to score the go-ahead run from third.


Hale is trying an assortment of combinations in the competition at shortstop and second base.

On Sunday, he opened with Jean Segura - obtained in a trade with Milwaukee - at shortstop and Chris Owings at second, with shortstop Nick Ahmed and second baseman Phil Gosselin sitting.

''Goss will play some third. We'll move them around,'' Hale said. ''I think the split squad (on Tuesday) I'm switching. Nick will play with Jean. Nick will play at short and Jean will play second. `'

And now, Rickie Weeks has been added to the mix.

The final decision, Hale said, will come down to ''what we see and what the feel of our team is. It could be they are all there and they switch around and we keep them all healthy and happy.''


Corbin, used cautiously last season because he was coming off Tommy John surgery, said he was concentrating on working on his changeup and it worked well for him. Overall, he threw 30 pitches, 22 for strikes.

''My arm feels good, the elbow feels great,'' Corbin said. ''I'm just trying to go back out there and get the pitch count up there. ... It's great to be like every other player here and I can go out there and not worry about anything.''

Chicago right-hander Adam Warren, who might wind up in the bullpen when the regular season begins, started and went two innings for the Cubs. He allowed two runs, both in the first inning, on three hits. He threw 32 pitches, 18 strikes.

Warren was acquired from the New York Yankees in December.

''I'm getting back in the swing of things,'' he said. ''Things were moving faster than I wanted to. It's to be expected. I was a little jittery and anxious to get out there. That's with a new team. Just to get that first inning out of the way was very nice. It was really encouraging for me to go out there for the second inning and settle down and pitch like I normally do.''


Cubs: Chicago plays split-squad games Monday. Right-hander Kris Medlen will start for the squad hosting Kansas City in Mesa. Right-hander Aaron Brooks will face Colorado in Scottsdale.

Diamondbacks: Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa will make his second start of the spring against the Seattle Mariners in Peoria. De La Rosa, projected as Arizona's No. 4 starter, gave up two runs and three hits in two innings in his spring debut.

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