Chicago Cubs

Cubs take cautious, optimistic approach with Darvish, Báez

Cubs' starter Yu Darvish pitches during the second inning against the Mets on Aug. 27 in New York.
Cubs' starter Yu Darvish pitches during the second inning against the Mets on Aug. 27 in New York.

CHICAGO – The Cubs said they are proceeding both cautiously and optimistically with pitcher Yu Darvish and shortstop Javy Báez.

Darvish played catch on the outfield grass for an extended time Tuesday afternoon, and the Cubs list him as their starting pitcher for Saturday night’s game at Milwaukee. He missed Sunday’s scheduled start with tightness in his right forearm.

Manager Joe Maddon has said that the Cubs are taking it easy on Darvish because of his vastly increased workload from last year, when he made only eight starts and eventually had an elbow cleanup.

Baez came out of Sunday’s game against the Brewers with a jammed left thumb. He did not play Monday, and with Wednesday being an off-day, Maddon has likened this week to an All-Star break for Báez.

“It’s just that he came in feeling a little bit better,” Maddon said. “He’s doing a little bit better. I’d like to believe he’ll be ready for Thursday, but I can’t tell you that for sure yet.”

Crowded clubhouse: The Cubs’ active roster now stands at 35 with Tuesday’s activations of catcher Willson Contreras and left-handed reliever Derek Holland off the injured list.

Contreras was out almost a month with a strained right hamstring. He just finished a minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa.

Holland went on the IL on Aug. 24 with a bruised left wrist. He gives the Cubs three left-handers in the bullpen, joining Kyle Ryan and recently recalled Brad Wieck.

Maddon wasted no time getting Contreras back into action, starting him Tuesday night to catch veteran Jon Lester.

“Everything went well,” Contreras said. “Ever since I left the team, I felt pretty good, pretty confident that I was going to be back soon. Here we are. I feel 100 percent.”

Oddities and entities: There are some team connections to Anthony Rizzo being hit with a franchise-record 139 pitches, a mark he set Monday. His first career hit-by-pitch came from current teammate Steve Cishek on July 19, 2012. He also has been hit by current teammates David Phelps and Jose Quintana. ... Pitcher Kyle Hendricks has walked two or fewer batters in 25 consecutive starts. That’s the longest such single-season streak since Bill Hands did so in all 34 starts in 1968.

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