Yu Darvish, Cubs Optimistic About His Progress

Darvish threw a 55-pitch side session Saturday.

Bruce Levine
August 04, 2018 - 2:48 pm
Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish

David Kohl/USA Today Sports

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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- After a 55-pitch side session Saturday, right-hander Yu Darvish and the Cubs can feel a little better about his progress as he rehabs a right elbow impingement.

If Darvish reports no unusual soreness in his injured triceps come Sunday, the next step will be a simulated game in the next three to four days.

"My goal is to face some hitters in the next time out," Darvish said. "Now that I am pitching, I am very optimistic about the process now. All of my pitches velocity-wise were up there higher. I was able to follow through my arm motion."

Signed to a six-year, $126-million deal in February, Darvish hasn't pitched in a big league game since May 20. He progressed as far as a rehab start at Class-A South Bend in late June, then had a setback. He eventually flew to Texas to meet with friend Dr. Keith Meister -- a Rangers team doctor whom Darvish consulted with prior to having Tommy John surgery in 2015 -- before receiving a cortisone shot to relieve some soreness in his arm.

Recently, Darvish adjusted his treatment a bit.

"Treatment-wise, I switched from treating the elbow to the spine," Darvish said. "That triggered a more positive flow. Everything in this whole process is better from the beginning until the end."

After further questioning, the Cubs clarified that Darvish was talking about using more of his whole body in his delivery. He doesn't have a new injury in any way to his back or spine.

"We started that about 10 days ago," Darvish said of his new motion. "Up to this point, there was pain and discomfort involved.

"So I was just trying to see alternatives. First things first, I will have to see how my body feels tomorrow. If all goes well, we will proceed from there."

Darvish also addressed the recent criticism he received from ESPN broadcaster Alex Rodriguez on Sunday Night Baseball. Rodriguez indicated Darvish rehabbing around the team caused a distraction for the Cubs and suggested that some in the clubhouse were losing faith in Darvish's approach to his comeback.

Darvish took the criticism and ensuing chaos in stride.

"If he sends me a text message, I will keep it, print it out and maybe take a screenshot and frame it, "Darvish said as reporters laughed.

For emphasis, Darvish then ditched the translator he'd been using.

"I am not joking," he said in English.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.​​