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Right here waiting for Yu: Cubs’ Darvish to head out for rehab start Sunday

Darvish

PITTSBURGH — After playing catch in the outfield Thursday, Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish considers himself ready to start a rehab assignment Sunday, likely at Class A South Bend.

‘‘He came in and said he felt great, so he’s ready to roll,’’ manager Joe Maddon said.

The $126 million centerpiece of the Cubs’ offseason hasn’t pitched since experiencing soreness near his surgically repaired pitching

elbow in May. He subsequently suffered a setback after his first rehab start in June.

With barely two weeks left in the minor-league season and 42 games left in the big-league season, another setback likely would mean Darvish wouldn’t return to the Cubs’ rotation in 2018.

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‘‘It would be difficult, no question,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘But he was very optimistic when I talked to him.’’

The Cubs plan to evaluate Darvish from start to start at South Bend before making a decision about when to activate him, though it seems obvious they’ll wait until rosters expand after this month.

Darvish threw a three-inning simulated game Tuesday at Wrigley Field.

‘‘One start, if he kills it, who knows?’’ Maddon said. “Three starts would be the maximum, I would think. After three starts, you would think that he has it dialed in.’’