Sportress of Blogitude

Yu Darvish may be set for rehab stint in minors after simulated game

Yu Darvish pitched a simulated game on Tuesday morning at Wrigley Field and if things check out afterward, it appears the Chicago Cubs pitcher may be on his way to the minors for some rehab appearances, according to Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein.

Epstein was among those on hand to watch Darvish pitch in the simulated game.

That said, Epstein noted the Cubs will continue to be cautious with Darvish.

Darvish pitched previously in a simulated game last week, during which Cubs manager Joe Maddon said the pitcher looked “loose and free” in a bid to reach an encouraging milestone in what has been a drawn-out recovery and rehab.

Last week’s effort followed a 35-pitch bullpen session a few days earlier during which he threw all his pitches. Darvish has been out since May 20 due to right triceps tendinitis and his recovery has been marred by setbacks.

Following an encouraging 57-pitch outing in late June for the South Bend Cubs — Chicago’s Class A outfit — Darvish experienced some pain in his next bullpen session.

With that in mind, Maddon indicated last week that the Cubs will handle Darvish like it’s early March, not August. Epstein’s comments on Tuesday seem to confirm as much.

Darvish’s protracted recovery time was also the source of some controversial criticism courtesy of ESPN’s Alex Rodriguez. While there was some back and forth between the Cubs and A-Rod — not to mention a brilliant reaction out of Darvish — it appears a conversation between Maddon and Rodriguez over the weekend settled matters.

That said, the Cubs are focusing on getting Darvish fully healthy and back in the rotation, not external noise.