Chicago Cubs: Evaluating Yu Darvish’s rehab start at South Bend

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Signs are pointing to Yu Darvish returning from injury very soon as the Chicago Cubs look to get back on track. His rehab start Monday night was encouraging, but he is still not feeling 100 percent.

Eyes of Chicago Cubs beat writers focused on Yu Darvish last night. He returned to the mound in a rehab start with the Class A South Bend Cubs. Darvish had been on the disabled list for over a month, not pitching in the majors since May 20. He has only been able to make three starts since May 1.

Darvish took the mound against the West Michigan Whitecaps at Four Winds Field and went five innings, giving up one run on three hits while striking out five and walking none. The one blemish was a solo home run to Whitecaps catcher Joey Morgan. Everything else was very well executed.

Not only was it good to see he had good command, but also was able to mix up his pitches effectively. The Athletic‘s Sahadev Sharma captured Darvish throwing a slow breaking ball for a swinging strikeout. Sharma also reported he was able to touch 94 on is fastball, while mixing in cutters, sliders and curves. All in all, 41 of his 57 pitches were strikes.

Is he ready? There is still some issues.

While everything seemed good for Darvish, his postgame comments were not as encouraging. WCSR‘s Bruce Levine reported that his triceps are still in some discomfort, and not feeling “100 percent”. Levine also says that he will be reevaluated when he arrives with the team in Los Angeles. It does not sound serious, but this is always concerning until he feels 100 percent again. It would probably be even more worrisome if he said this after a rough outing. More will be known about his timetable soon.

When Darvish eventually returns, which is hopefully soon, it will answer a lot of questions. Will Mike Montgomery stick in the rotation? Or will they go six-man? Right now it is still hard to see Tyler Chatwood being removed from the rotation despite the walk issues. He has had enough starts where he has not given up a lot of runs for the team to justify keeping in there, even if many disagree.

Next: Will we see Darvish back on the mound before the ASG?

Lastly, shout out to Yu Darvish for buying his South Bend teammates dinner Monday. Nothing but class from the Cubs’ big offseason acquisition.