Cubs like what they see from Yu Darvish in simulated game

 
 
Updated 8/14/2018 2:59 PM
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  • Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish, who threw a simulated game Tuesday, talks with pitching coach Jim Hickey during another simulated game in June.

    Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish, who threw a simulated game Tuesday, talks with pitching coach Jim Hickey during another simulated game in June. Associated Press

The Cubs liked what they saw -- and heard -- from Yu Darvish Tuesday.

The injured right-hander threw 50-plus pitches during a morning simulated game, facing batters David Bote and Victor Caratini.

Caratini hit one ball into the bleachers, and after one pitch bounced in the dirt, Darvish let out a yell.

"I was watching that third inning from behind, and really good stuff," said manager Joe Maddon. "Great spin on the breaking stuff. He was totally involved. He was absolutely competing out there. That's the word I use because he got upset with himself when he spiked one fastball, which I kind of liked. Totally engaged. Looked really good. Was not holding back."

Team President Theo Epstein also watched Darvish. He said the Cubs would evaluate Darvish Wednesday and that if he felt OK, a minor league rehab start could be next.

"He's going about his business like someone who is on a mission to come back and help this team," Epstein said.

Either way, the Cubs won't rush Darvish's return in part because Epstein said: "We probably have one chance, given where we are on the calendar, to get this right. That's the priority."

No contract talks yet:

Theo Epstein praised the work of Joe Maddon but said now is not the time to talk about a contract extension for the manager, whose deal runs through the end of the 2019 season.

"Nothing like that is even a thought in our mind right now and probably not Joe's either," Epstein said. "We're just focused on trying to make the absolute most of this season, which means in order: winning the division, playing really well in October and trying to get another ring. I would say the appropriate time for us internally is to start thinking about it after we've played our last game of the year."

One special moment:

Both Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon said David Bote's walk-off, pinch-hit grand slam to beat the Nationals Sunday night was something special.

"It was unbelievable," Epstein said. "That really struck a chord with everyone. I probably got more texts after that game than some of the World Series games. There must have been nothing else on. That was one of my favorite regular season games, just a classic pitchers duel. I think (starting pitcher Cole) Hamels has kind of gotten overlooked a little bit. He was unbelievable. That was postseason type stuff he was throwing out there."

Maddon held his charity golf outing on Monday's off-day.

"It's pretty neat what he did and what it means for him and his family and us and even the city," Maddon said. "I said it half-kiddingly yesterday when we had the golf tournament. I began by saying, 'Thank you, David Bote, thank you, Cole Hamels for making this such a wonderful day,' because we as human beings, the way we respond to our victorious teams is amazing, especially in a long major-league baseball season.

"The group at the golf tournament were, like, effervescent just based on David's home run. That's all they could talk about. And I definitely wanted to include Cole Hamels because he was outstanding, too."

More grounders for Bryant:

Third baseman Kris Bryant took grounders Tuesday as he continues rehabbing his injured left shoulder. He has been on the disabled list effective July 24. It's the second time Bryant has been on the DL for that ailment.

"I think (he's) in a good place," Theo Epstein said. "I don't want to speak for him on things like symptoms and pain, but it seems to be pain free at this point. I think he said that the other day, where he can get to full range of motion and finish his swing. He's just got to get back into sort of like game shape and take swings that are closer to game-type intensity and trust it and come back."

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