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Cubs’ Yu Darvish tweets from hospital after being scratched from start: ‘No fever, no flu’

Darvish, who talked this week of coronavirus fears, took no chances after developing a cough, seeking to rule out the COVID-19 strain. He could be back on a mound by Friday.

Yu Darvish said he didn’t want to risk making his teammates ill.
Yu Darvish said he didn’t want to risk making his teammates ill.
John Antonoff/For the Sun-Times

MESA, Ariz. — Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish, who earlier this week talked about his fear of the new coronavirus, took himself out of Thursday’s scheduled spring start because he felt ill and went to a local hospital for tests and treatment.

In tweets from the hospital Thursday morning, Darvish said in Japanese that he had been coughing since Wednesday and didn’t want to be in the clubhouse because he couldn’t be certain he didn’t have the coronavirus.

He then tweeted that he had been cleared — translated from Japanese to “No fever, no flu” — and was sent home. He later sent a message to a beat writer, saying, in English, “I’m good.”

Darvish has been rescheduled to get Thursday’s work in as a three-inning simulated game Friday. At this point in camp, those innings are important to assure he stays on pace to be available for a possible Opening Day start.

Darvish, a native of Japan who made one brief trip back home over the winter, has expressed more concern and awareness of the spread of COVID-19 than most players in camp this spring.

In a conversation with the Sun-Times on Tuesday, Darvish said, “I’m really worried about it.”

Cubs management and medical staff held a briefing with players about the coronavirus on Thursday morning to go over what team president Theo Epstein characterized as “smart practices.”

Independent of that, a more typical flu bug has been making its way through several teams’ camps this spring, including in Mesa, where Cubs manager David Ross, pitcher Jose Quintana and, also on Thursday, second baseman Jason Kipnis have all been sidelined. Ross missed the first three games of the Cactus League schedule and wound up in the hospital for a day receiving fluids through an IV.

The Cubs aren’t taking any chances with any form of illness that might affect players and staff.

“I know how bad, personally, that gets,” Ross said. “We’re being extra cautious in that area, trying to do our best not to spread it around.

“With all this going around, we’re just going to take precautions.”

The regular season opens in Milwaukee three weeks from Thursday.

Ross was in wait-and-see mode regarding Darvish’s health.

“We’ve got to listen to our bodies, especially this time of the year, and make sure we don’t push somebody when they’re either dehydrated [or not] feeling well,” Ross said.

Ross, who hasn’t officially declared an Opening Day starter, said “I don’t know yet” how Darvish missing Thursday’s start might impact plans for the opener.

“It just depends on how long all these guys miss and how things line up,” he said.

Darvish and left-hander Jon Lester each are scheduled for four more spring starts, with both on a natural schedule that would work for the opener. If Darvish can’t pitch Friday, it might require pushing him back in the rotation when the season starts.