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Setback scuttles Yu Darvish’s bid to return to Cubs rotation Saturday

LOS ANGELES — Forget about that widely anticipated Yu Darvish sighting this weekend at Wrigley Field.

The optimism surrounding Darvish and an imminent return to the Cubs’ rotation disappeared in the few minutes it took Thursday for Darvish to report “pain” in his triceps area when he tried to throw a light bullpen session at Dodger Stadium.

“He was not able to cut it loose,” said manager Joe Maddon, among the throng of team personnel observing the session they hoped would be a precursor to a start Saturday at home.

“He still felt the pain on extension, he said, and he was unable to really cut loose,” Maddon said.

Yu Darvish's comeback trail from a triceps injury took a puzzling turn Thursday.

Darvish, who has made 56 big-league starts since Tommy John surgery in 2015, has been on the disabled list since May 23 because of triceps tendinitis.

Initial tests, including an MRI, revealed no structural damage. Darvish may seek another medical opinion, possibly with his longtime orthopedist in Texas, as the Cubs mull the next move with their $126 million right-hander. A second MRI exam has not been ruled out.

For now, the Cubs have no timeline on Darvish’s return.

Thursday’s developments came one day after Darvish reiterated that he felt “tightness” near the triceps during an impressive, five-inning rehab start with Class A South Bend on Monday — a start during which his fastball reached 96 mph.

“Any pitcher would have some sort of tightness,” he said. “It’s just that.”

Maddon said Wednesday that some soreness often is good during the rehab process, an indication of muscles rebuilding strength after a layoff.

Darvish did not talk to reporters after his aborted throwing session Thursday.

“He said it was more pain today,” Maddon said.

The latest turn in Darvish’s comeback trail seemed especially puzzling after a strong simulated game last week at Wrigley Field, what seemed like an incident-free start in South Bend and the upbeat tone Darvish had Wednesday.

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“We thought we had a shot at this weekend,” said Maddon, who raved about Darvish’s performance in both recent game-condition tests. “Between now and then he just doesn’t feel right.”

Before going on the DL, the four-time All-Star struggled in his first eight starts (1-4, 4.95 ERA) with his new team.

He acknowledged on Wednesday the added benefits the DL has provided in the ability to settle in and get comfortable in his new surroundings.

“Yeah, mentally it’s been a good time to just have time to reflect,” he said.

ICYMI late Wednesday night

Last season’s Game 1 playoff starter, Kyle Hendricks, said he feels as physically strong as he has in his four major-league seasons after allowing two homers and eight hits in his shortest career start (2⅔ innings) — blaming unresolved mechanics issues after the 7-5 loss.

“I’m searching,” said Hendricks, who has lost five of his last six starts and whose 16 homers allowed are just one off his career high for a season.

This and that

Setup ace Carl Edwards Jr. (shoulder) makes a minor-league rehab appearance for Class AAA Iowa on Friday, after which the team expects to make a decision about his fitness to return from the disabled list.

Starter Tyler Chatwood was activated from the paternity list Thursday after the max time allowed expired. He remained in Chicago, where he’ll start Saturday.

Hard-throwing reliever Dillon Maples, who displayed an exceptional slider during two scoreless innings Tuesday night, was optioned back to Iowa to make room for Chatwood.