SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Chicago Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish pitched five sharp innings in a minor league rehabilitation start Monday night and soon could be back in the majors.
Darvish allowed one run and three hits for South Bend in the Class A Midwest League. The Japanese ace struck out five, walked none and threw 57 pitches, 41 for strikes.
Darvish has not pitched in the majors since May 20 because of triceps tendinitis in his right arm.
"He could be back by the end of the week," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said before a game in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. "He is pitching right now. He is doing really well. He is throwing a lot of strikes. His fastball has been good and his breaking ball has been good so he is getting really close."
Darvish, who signed a $126 million, six-year contract as a free agent in the offseason, has struggled to a 1-3 record with a 4.95 ERA in eight games. He's twice been on the disabled list.
Against the West Michigan Whitecaps, the 6-foot-5 Darvish gave up a home run by Joey Morgan in the third inning and also allowed two doubles.
Darvish threw an assortment of pitches, with his fastball reaching 94 mph. He ended the top of the fourth inning with a 62-mph slow curve to strike out Reynaldo Rivera and received high-fives from his teammates when he reached the dugout.