Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish will make a minor league rehab start on Sunday

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 25: Yu Darvish #11 of the Chicago Cubs throws before the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field on July 25, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH – About two months ago, it looked like his comeback would have been before the All-Star Break. Now Cubs fans are just hoping that Yu Darvish makes a start before the end of the 2018 season.

But over the past few weeks, positive results in bullpen sessions and simulated games have the Cubs feeling a bit better about their starter returning sooner than later. On Thursday, another significant step was announced for the pitcher who has struggled with elbow inflammation since May.

Before the Cubs’ game with the Pirates, Joe Maddon announced that Darvish will make a minor league rehab start on Sunday, with the site of the outing still to be determined.

Darvish last did so on June 25th in Class A South Bend when it seemed as if he was close to returning to the lineup. He threw five innings with five strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter, allowing three hits and just one run that night, but when the pain returned the rehabilitation process started again.

Nearly two months later, Darvish is back in the same spot again, hoping to end a nearly three-month stretch between major league appearances.

He last pitched for the Cubs on May 20th in one of his better starts of the season, allowing just one run over six innings with seven strikeouts compared to three walks. It was his first win of the season, a bright spot in a rough start where Darvish’s ERA was just under five (4.95) and he sported a 1-3 record.

Maybe now he’ll finally get the chance to finish strong after a rough first season of a six-year, $126 million contract. Certainly there has been more positives than negatives lately for the starter, who could use some good luck in Chicago in 2018.