Sportress of Blogitude

Yu Darvish still ‘weeks away,’ according to Cubs pitching coach

Yu Darvish will not be making a return to the Chicago Cubs’ starting rotation anytime soon, as pitching coach Jim Hickey indicated on Thursday that the pitcher is “a number of weeks” away.

“I know he was throwing back to 105 feet before we left for the (All-Star) break,” Hickey said during an interview on Chicago’s WSCR-AM 670, via the Chicago Tribune. “I know that he stayed in Chicago over the break and worked with some of the trainers there.

“It’s tough to say (when he will be) pitching in a major-league game. But 10 to 14 days or so after playing catch, you end up getting on the mound, and then you would basically, based upon the time that you missed, have to get on the mound a couple times. And then you’d have to build up to facing hitters, whether that was a live batting-practice scenario (or something else). You’d have to do that a couple times.

“Obviously it’s a little different for a relief pitcher than it is for a starter. But you’re still talking about a number of weeks yet, I’m sure.”

Darvish has been out since May 20 due to right triceps tendinitis. Following a rehab start in late June for the South Bend Cubs — Chicago’s Class A outfit — Darvish was ultimately shut down again after experiencing “pain” during a bullpen session a few days later.

Despite Darvish’s extended absence, the Cubs sit at 55-38 at the break and 2.5 games clear of the second-place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.

The Cubs obviously were expecting a lot more out of Darvish when signing him to a six-year, $126 million deal ahead of spring training. But rushing him back when he’s not fully healthy is not going to help matters. It’s safe to say both Darvish and the Cubs are extremely disheartened over how long it’s taking the pitcher to return to the majors.