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Yu Darvish could start minor league rehab stint Sunday

Yu Darvish is expected to reach another significant milestone in his protracted recovery process with a minor league rehab stint, one that could begin as early as Sunday.

Cubs skipper Joe Maddon on Wednesday said that Darvish, out since May 20 with right triceps tendinitis, may make three rehab starts in the minors.

Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey said on his weekly show on WSCR-AM 670 that the following two starts would be slotted for Aug. 24 and Aug. 29.

“If good, those are potential dates,” Maddon said, via the Chicago Tribune.

Darvish threw about 55 pitches in three innings of simulated game action on Tuesday, which included some rest between each “inning.” The plan was if Darvish experienced no setbacks or flareups, a minor league stint would be planned.

Count Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein in the camp encouraged by Darvish’s progress in the past week. After watching the simulated game work on Tuesday, Epstein said the pitcher looks like “someone who’s on a mission to come back and help this team.”

Darvish pitched in a simulated game last week as well and looked “loose and free,” according to Maddon.

Still, the Cubs will continue to be extremely cautious with Darvish, especially considering how his last rehab assignment played out.

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. Things have been up and down since then.

However, if things go well during all three outings in the minors, Darvish would be on schedule to rejoin the big-league squad for a road series against the Milwaukee Brewers series on Sept. 3-5.

Given how things have gone since May, odds are the Cubs and Darvish are not about to get too far ahead of themselves.