In a moment at Petco Park on Wednesday morning, Chicago Cubs right fielder Seiya Suzuki caught a glimpse of what he might look like in a different major league jersey.
Suzuki met behind the plate to exchange jerseys with the San Diego Padres and former Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish, who both signed their memorabilia. At one point, Suzuki held Darwish’s white pinstripe jersey against him — a visual of another result of Suzuki’s choice to sign with the Padres rather than the Cubs.
The pregame jersey swap ahead of the Cubs’ 7-5 win on Wednesday — two-thirds in their first series win since the season’s opening weekend — was between the Japanese stars during batting practice Live chat.
The sunny weather in the mid-’60s gave Darvish a trash-talking opportunity he wouldn’t pass up. The three-game series is one of the best outdoor conditions the Cubs have played in the past five weeks, especially compared to the cold and rainy conditions they often endure at Wrigley Field.
Darvish couldn’t help but joke with Suzuki.
“Hey, do you like the warm weather here?” Darvish jokingly asked him Monday.
Suzuki didn’t see Darwish’s pitches in person and was limited to watching his starter on TV. He looked forward to that day. Suzuki probably won’t have to wait too long. The Cubs missed their game against Darwish this week in San Diego. The right-hander will start his next start Friday in Atlanta following the Padres’ rest day on Thursday.
If the Padres don’t change their rotation and he’s still on the five-day schedule, Darvish should face the Cubs at Wrigley Field in a four-game series June 13-16.
“I wanted to make sure I could get his blows,” Suzuki said with a smile through the translation toy Panasonic. “Because at this moment, he wants to get me out.”
Darvish told Suzuki ahead of Monday’s series opener that he would like to play together on the same team if given the chance. He could have pushed Suzuki harder to sign with the Padres, but Darvish helped bring the right fielder to Chicago. Darvish spoke positively about his three seasons with the Cubs (2018-20), when the two met in San Diego on March 11 before Darvish left to report for spring training in Arizona.
After Suzuki signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Cubs in March, Joel Wolf of Wasserman, who represents both players, recalled that Darwish’s message to Suzuki focused on Hope for the best for him, even if it means they won’t be teammates.
Suzuki did not start for the second straight game due to a sore right ankle in Monday’s game. Although they didn’t face each other in the three-game series at Petco Park, Suzuki clearly took pleasure in sharing the major league field with Darvish.
“He had a great influence on me, and I felt like a superstar—the fact that he knew me was such an honor,” Suzuki said. “It’s a learning process for me at this point. So I want to experience it and then learn it from my own mindset. But if there’s something that worries me, or I want to ask Yu, I’ll ask him.”