Is Darvish feeling good after throwing batting practice? Yu bet.

MESA, Ariz. - Pitcher Yu Darvish cleared another hurdle - albeit a small one - on his way back from arm and elbow problems.

Darvish threw 25 pitches of live batting practice Tuesday to Cubs batters Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell and Albert Almora Jr.

There were a couple of "base hits," but those were dunked into the outfield.

Darvish seemed happy.

"I feel good," Darvish said after first entertaining a contingent of Japanese media. "My fastball hit 94 and averaged 92. It had more life.

"Even last year, I'm throwing like 100 percent but still hitting 90-91. But this year, nice and easy and then hitting 93-94."

Darvish appeared in only 8 games last year after signing a six-year, $126 million on the eve of spring training.

He made his final start of the season May 20 when right-triceps tendinitis put him on the disabled list. After experiencing elbow discomfort later in the season, Darvish had arthroscopic surgery in September for an elbow cleanup.

Making his case to play

Outfielder-infielder Ian Happ said he hopes off-season communication between him and manager Joe Maddon will pay off in more playing time all around the field.

Selected in the first round of the 2015 draft as an infielder, Happ has seen most his time with the Cubs as an outfielder since he came up two years ago.

At the plate last season, Happ had a line of .233/.353/.408 with 15 homers, 44 RBI and 167 strikeouts in 387 at-bats. In 2017, he had 24 homers, 68 RBI and 129 strikeouts in 364 at-bats.

"Joe and I were in communication this off-season, which was good," Happ said. "I was able to send him the hitting videos of some of the stuff I was working on. We had some really good, candid, conversations where I was able to say, 'Look, I would like to be considered for this. I'd like some time there,' because last spring training, I played all center field.

"You get to the season, and it's like, 'Well now I have to play them all.' Yeah, that was my goal this spring: Come in and play a bunch of different positions to really prepare myself for what I'm going to be doing this season."

Still no Zobrist

On Day 2 of official workouts for position players, infielder-outfielder Ben Zobrist was not present for a second straight day. The Cubs say he has an excused absence for personal reasons. Joe Maddon said he did not know when Zobrist would arrive.

  Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish signs autographs for fans after pitching a batting practice session Tuesday in Mesa. Bruce Miles/
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