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Yu Darvish conducts bullpen session which ‘went well,’ per Joe Maddon

Yu Darvish on Tuesday conducted a brief bullpen session off the mound that lasted 16 pitches. The initial word on how the pitcher looked are encouraging, according to Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

“Everything went well,” Maddon said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “There was no real horrible discomfort.”

Darvish’s session was observed by Cubs team president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and medical staff. The plan going forward is to see how Darvish feels on Wednesday and determine the next steps upon re-evaluation.

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.

Darvish then traveled to Texas to be examined by his longtime orthopedist. The pitcher received a shot of cortisone after an elbow impingement was diagnosed.Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey indicated last week that Darvish remains “a number of weeks” away. It’s unclear how Tuesday’s bullpen session will alter that timeline, if at all.

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 it makes little sense to rush him back until he’s fully healthy.

Despite Darvish’s protracted absence, the Cubs sit atop the NL Central with a 58-41 record, 2.5 games clear of the Milwaukee Brewers heading into Tuesday night’s action.