ST. LOUIS — Even as the Cubs continue a cautious approach with right-hander Yu Darvish’s recovery from a triceps injury, they’re not ruling out a return before the All-Star break.
“I think there’s a path to that,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “That path would have to be really smooth. I think everything has to go right, but I do think there’s certainly a path to get back before the break.”
Darvish, who said that was a goal earlier in the week, threw a second bullpen session since the injury Friday and seemed to fare well in the 35-pitch effort.
He told Japanese media, “I cannot say I am 100 percent,” but said he was better than before he went on the disabled list May 23.
“You don’t want to put too much import on every single bullpen session,” Hoyer said, “but I think he continues to feel good and we continue to move in the right direction.”
Darvish is expected to throw another bullpen session early next week at home, after which a next step in his progression could be scheduled. He will need a minor-league rehab assignment before returning.
Hoyer also didn’t rule out a return before the All-Star break for setup man Carl Edwards Jr., after the right-hander played catch for just the third time since landing on the DL with a sore shoulder.
“The important thing with both these guys is that we get them healthy and get them right because we’re hoping to play for seven months, and we want to make sure there are no setbacks,” Hoyer said. “In both cases, we’re trying to be as cautious as possible.”
Edwards isn’t close to throwing at max effort yet as he increases the distance each time he plays catch. He likely will need at least one minor-league rehab appearance.
Full Monty chance?
Mike Montgomery’s sterling four-start run in place of the injured Darvish has made the Cubs rethink how certain they are that Montgomery simply will return to the bullpen once everybody’s healthy again.
“All he’s done is taken the opportunity and done all you can with it. We’re obviously going to keep that in mind,” Hoyer said, adding that doesn’t necessarily mean somebody would lose his starting job if Montgomery stayed. “We have the ability to do many different things.”
First-round draft pick Nico Hoerner has finished his finals at Stanford, and the junior shortstop could be a routine physical away from signing for the roughly $2.7 million bonus allotted for his No. 24 overall slot.
The Cubs have a deal done with second-round pick Brennen Davis, a high school outfielder from Arizona, for $1.1 million.