Cubs righty Yu Darvish is not dealing with a structural injury to his right arm, the club announced today. As MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat explains, an MRI showed only that Darvish is dealing with inflammation in his triceps.
The hope at this point is that the veteran starter will be able to resume throwing in relatively short order — as soon as the coming weekend, in fact. If he progresses well, then, it seems he may not end up missing much action at all. Darvish is already on the DL, with a placement dated to May 23rd.
While there was never any particular reason to fear that Darvish had suffered a major injury, it’s always at least a bit concerning when a pitcher goes in for an arm examination. That’s all the more true here, as he has struggled to open the year after signing on with the Cubs for six years and $126MM.
Of course, most indicators on the stat sheet suggest that Darvish hasn’t been too terribly different from his typical self. The results obviously haven’t been great — he owns a 4.95 ERA and has handled only forty innings in eight starts — but the 31-year-old is throwing with his typical fastball velocity (94.8 mph) and generating swings and misses in range of his career rate (11.1% this year; 12.1% career).
There will surely be some things to work on for Darvish once his arm feels at full strength. He has issued too many walks (4.7 per nine) and permitted too many long balls (1.58 per nine, 17.5% HR/FB rate), but the hope will remain that he can sort through those concerns and get back to being the high-quality rotation piece he was viewed as when he was signed.
In the meantime, Mike Montgomery will fill in for Darvish. He represents a solid backup plan for a Cubs team that is nevertheless dealing with some general consternation in the starting staff even beyond the Darvish situation. Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks have been excellent, but Jose Quintana owns a 4.78 ERA and Tyler Chatwood has allowed more walks (45) than strikeouts (44) to this point of the season.