Yu on track for Sat.; Javy (thumb) scratched

Bryant back in Cubs' lineup after sitting with knee soreness

September 5th, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- The Cubs treated 's mound workout on Thursday like any other bullpen session. Even with the backdrop of his recent arm issue, pitching coach Tommy Hottovy felt it was important not to change things up from the usual routine.

Darvish worked through 29 pitches at Miller Park, testing each piece of his repertoire after having his start skipped Sunday due to right forearm tightness. Hottovy said Darvish came away feeling confident in his ability to execute his pitches normally, putting him on target to start on Saturday as planned against the Brewers.

"We wanted to keep it as normal as possible for him in that situation," Hottovy said. "He felt good about it. I think we all did. He came through it fine, and the stuff was on par with what we would assume a normal bullpen would be."

The Cubs will monitor how Darvish feels on Friday, but manager Joe Maddon echoed Hottovy's take on the situation.

"They were very, very pleased with what they saw," Maddon said. "As of right now, it's looking really good for Saturday."

In nine outings in the second half, Darvish has spun a 2.93 ERA with 72 strikeouts against three walks in 55 1/3 innings. He has a 4.25 ERA in 27 starts on the season, and has logged 152 1/3 innings after lasting only 40 frames and eight starts in an injury-plagued 2018 campaign.

Hottovy reiterated that the Cubs need to be mindful of Darvish's innings down the stretch, especially with a potential playoff run looming in October.

"The big thing is just to be smart about his workload," Hottovy said, "and just continue to monitor how he's feeling, where his pitch counts are. ... I mean, he's at 152 innings, so he's already 112 over where he was last year."

Baez scratched again

Shortstop was originally in Thursday's lineup against the Brewers, but he was scratched shortly before the game due to left thumb soreness. Baez left Sunday's game against the Brewers at Wrigley Field after jamming his thumb and then sat out on Monday and Tuesday during the series against Seattle.

"I would say [his thumb is] probably 80 [percent] or so, if I had to guess," Maddon said. "He felt decent swinging. It's still a concern, even catching the ball. That bothers him a little bit. But, he's a pretty tough kid, man. He'll manage all of that when he gets out there."

Bryant returns to lineup

Third baseman was back in the starting lineup on Thursday after being scratched from the mix Tuesday with right knee soreness. It is the same issue Bryant has dealt with since late June, and the third baseman said he will have to stay on top of his treatment for the remainder of this season.

"It's just baseball, man. There's always nicks and bruises and stuff you've just got to deal with," Bryant said. "Obviously, an offseason will make it feel much better, when you have an extended amount of time off. But, we don't have that. We have games we've got to win."