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Darvish ramps up rehab, throws sim game

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

KANSAS CITY -- The Cubs' Yu Darvish faced batters for the first time since a Minor League rehab start in late June, throwing 33 pitches over two "innings" in a simulated game Wednesday. The right-hander most likely will do the same type of workout again before the Cubs consider another Minor League outing.

Darvish, who has not pitched since May 20 because of right triceps tendinitis and last faced batters June 25 with Class A South Bend, faced batters Victor Caratini and Tommy La Stella at Kauffman Stadium. Manager Joe Maddon, pitching coach Jim Hickey, the Cubs medical staff and even teammate Cole Hamels came out to watch.

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KANSAS CITY -- The Cubs' Yu Darvish faced batters for the first time since a Minor League rehab start in late June, throwing 33 pitches over two "innings" in a simulated game Wednesday. The right-hander most likely will do the same type of workout again before the Cubs consider another Minor League outing.

Darvish, who has not pitched since May 20 because of right triceps tendinitis and last faced batters June 25 with Class A South Bend, faced batters Victor Caratini and Tommy La Stella at Kauffman Stadium. Manager Joe Maddon, pitching coach Jim Hickey, the Cubs medical staff and even teammate Cole Hamels came out to watch.

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"I thought he threw really well, easy, not affected in any way," Maddon said. "I think he hit 93 [mph]. Good curveballs and cutter. He looked loose and free to me. I thought it was a really good day."

Video: Darvish on being pain-free after bullpen session

The only negative came when La Stella fouled a ball off his right ankle and fell to the ground at the beginning of the second "inning" and had to be helped out of the cage. He was able to walk off the field under his own power and was in the lineup as the designated hitter Wednesday.

This rehab process is similiar to what pitchers go through in Spring Training to build up endurance and strength, which means it will be a slow process.

"You don't want to to push it too hard now," Maddon said. "I would imagine he'd do something similar again before you get him out there competing.

"You've got to take your time with it -- you don't go zero to 60. Absolutely, you have to treat it like Spring Training now."

Playing it safe: Ben Zobrist, lifted from Tuesday night's game because of soreness in his left hip, did not start Wednesday but it was more precautionary.

"I wasn't running real fast from first to second on that hit and run," Zobrist said of the third inning Tuesday. "It was bugging me a little more than normal. We'll do some treatment and I'll be ready to pinch-hit [Wednesday] and see how it feels."

The problem isn't a chronic injury, Zobrist said.

"It just got sore on extension," he said. "Nothing grabbed but it was pretty sore. I said, 'Well, do I want to push through this and maybe make it worse or not?'"

He actually felt some tightness before Tuesday's game, which may have been caused by how hard he ran Monday when he hit a triple and single.

"Under different circumstances, we may have pushed him more," Maddon said. "We decided there's no reason to push it now. ... Why push it now to the point where it becomes chronic or serious and nobody benefits?"

Reunion on tap: This weekend will be the first time Maddon will see Nationals manager Dave Martinez, who was Maddon's bench coach with the Rays beginning in 2008 and continued that job with the Cubs until last season. Isn't Maddon worried about Martinez knowing all of his tendencies?

"I'm an open book," Maddon said. "It's easy to read me. There's nothing -- I've emptied the playbook out. West Coast offense, East Coast offense, single wing, we've done the fullback field, we've done the shift when you come up to the line and the linemen get up and get down."

So Maddon won't change the Cubs' signs?

"He'll know my signs," Maddon said.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Yu Darvish