Although the Cubs (and we) were thrilled to hear the results of Yu Darvish’ MRI – no structural damage, only inflammation! – that wasn’t the end of the situation, even if we sort of celebrated. I think the little dose of good news (not catastrophic!) has clouded the fact that he’s still on the shelf and didn’t really get back into the swing of things this weekend as hoped, and only just played catch yesterday (which is far from a bullpen session).
And I’m sad to say, things may have just gotten a little bleaker – at least, in terms of the more optimistic expectations for his return:
It's "inevitable" that Yu Darvish "will have to make some rehab starts," #Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey says. Darvish has played catch from 90 feet. He hasn't played long toss.
He's at least a couple weeks away, Hickey says.
— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) June 6, 2018
According to Cubs Pitching Coach Jim Hickey, Darvish will need to make some rehab starts (plural) down in the Minor Leagues before he returns, and is at least a couple weeks away. Sigh.
Obviously, I wasn’t exactly counting on him to take his next start – especially after learning that he had just managed to play catch this weekend, not begin a throwing program aimed at getting him back on the mound as quickly as possible – but I was hoping that perhaps the Cubs original hope wasn’t – for once – overly optimistic. At worst, I had hoped, he was a day or two behind and a simply rotation shuffle could’ve accommodated the extra needed time. But alas, that’s not to be.
Instead, I presume, Darvish will begin that “throwing program” soon (like over the next few days maybe), and when he feels ready, will test it out in the Minor Leagues for at least a couple starts. If that happens, we’re probably looking at something like late-June for a return to the Cubs, where he could hopefully get a few starts in before the All-Star break. In the meantime, let’s just hope Mike Montgomery continues to flash some brilliance as a starter and cover for Darvish as best he can.
It’s been a rough start for the Cubs’ big right-hander – even he thinks Cubs fans dislike him – but I suspect it will all work out in the end. Darvish is a very good pitcher and has been for many years. I expect that to continue in Chicago at some point. Hopefully soon.