Cubs manager Joe Maddon vociferously defended Yu Darvish after Alex Rodriguez criticized the right-hander for how he has been rehabbing from his injury during ESPN's broadcast of Sunday night's Cubs-Cardinals game.Rodriguez, an analyst for the national broadcast, was critical of the right-hander's ongoing absence due to right biceps tendinitis, which
Cubs manager Joe Maddon vociferously defended Yu Darvish after Alex Rodriguez criticized the right-hander for how he has been rehabbing from his injury during ESPN's broadcast of Sunday night's Cubs-Cardinals game.
Rodriguez, an analyst for the national broadcast, was critical of the right-hander's ongoing absence due to right biceps tendinitis, which has exceeded two months. Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million contract in February.
"When you have a guy that signed an enormous contract and is sitting down, and you walk in the training room and he's got two trainers working on him, you should be in Arizona somewhere getting treated," Rodriguez said.
"A guy, to start a six-year contract with three of the worst months that you can ever see … They won't say this publicly, but it's gotten so bad. They've let him basically place and take control of his rehab, which is scary, because they don't want to create anything that he can kind of push back against. He'll let the team know when he's ready -- which, let me tell you what that means to a clubhouse, you lose respect quickly."
Maddon responded, when asked about A-Rod's comments by a reporter: "I totally disagree with that. Everyone knows what's going on. We know there is an injury there. We support his recovery. Everybody in there knows and everyone in the coaches' room knows also, throughout the organization … It's unfortunate that it was relayed that way, but it's not true."
The Cubs entered the season with a rotation that, particularly due to the acquisition of Darvish, was touted the Majors' best. Yet performance and injury attrition forced the club to add ahead of Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline. They did so by acquiring veteran left-hander Cole Hamels, Darvish's former teammate, from the Rangers. Free-agent acquisition Tyler Chatwood has battled command issues and is now pitching out of the bullpen.
"He's struggled but has gone out there," Rodriguez said of Chatwood. "He gets beat down but gets back up. He takes a punch but gets back up. And you'll never see players complain or whine about a guy like that. They actually back him."
Darvish threw a 23-pitch bullpen session on Friday as he continues to work his way back. At the time of his injury, the 2017 All-Star was 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA over eight starts. The most glaring issue over his first two months appeared to be composure in high-leverage situations, as he struggled to escape high-traffic innings with limited damage.
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.