More than a week after receiving a cortisone shot to alleviate inflammation from an impingement in his elbow, Yu Darvish played catch yesterday in San Francisco.
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) July 9, 2018
It’s a step. A small first step, sure. But a step.
There is no timeline in place for Darvish’s return to the big leagues, and it’s safe to assume the return to pitching will be *at least* as conservative as it was when he was rehabbing his earlier arm injury.
How did that timeline play out, for whatever that information is worth here?
When he was rehabbing the triceps inflammation, Darvish played catch for about a week before throwing his first bullpen session on June 12. Eight days later, he pitched his simulated game at Wrigley Field. Then five days after that, he started for the South Bend Cubs in his first minor league rehab outing, after which he was ultimately shut down again.
Just to lay it out, if things followed that same path, you’d be looking at a Darvish bullpen early next week, and then a simulated game the following week, around the 24th of July. That would put him in line to make a rehab start at the end of the month, and then possibly return in the first week of August. Again, though, that’s only if this rehab process looks identical to the last one, which is not necessarily a safe assumption since that rehab process led to another shutdown.
So, instead of thinking that I’m telling you Darvish projects to be back in the first week of August, your takeaway here should probably be limited to: it’s very, very unlikely Darvish returns to the big league rotation before the end of July, despite earlier hopes to the contrary.
The Cubs, therefore, may have to make a trade deadline decision about supplementing their pitching staff before they know if/when Darvish will be fully operational, so to speak.