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Yu Darvish: 'Fans here are very supportive' despite my struggles

MILWAUKEE -- Rehabbing Cubs starter Yu Darvish came out of a bullpen session with high marks Tuesday, and afterward, he had a message to any fans who might think the sides aren't on the same page: We're all good.

Darvish, who has been out with right triceps soreness since May 20, addressed comments made by catcher Chris Gimenez, who recently told the Chicago Sun-Times that he thinks the first-year Cubs right-hander feels like he is disliked by fans in Chicago.

Darvish said that's simply not true.

"In regards to Chicago [fans], I'm not sure what Chris was thinking," Darvish said through his interpreter. "The fans here are very supportive. Even in my situation, they come to me when they see me in town and say, 'Thanks for the performance.' I really do feel the support."

Darvish is 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA after signing a six-year, $126 million deal in the offseason. He has imploded in several starts while looking sharp in several others, including his last one, before feeling soreness during a throwing session between outings.

Tuesday was a step in the right direction. He threw about 30 pitches in front of manager Joe Maddon and Cubs brass, who came away impressed.

"I wasn't expecting quite the quality of bullpen that we saw," team president Theo Epstein said. "It was crisp. He seemed to be letting it go without hesitation."

Maddon added: "Easy gas. Great location. Good spin on his breaking ball. ... It's just a bullpen, but very encouraging to see him throw that well. ... I thought it was good for me to go out there [to the bullpen] as a sign of support."

The Cubs don't want to commit to a timetable for his return. They'll wait and see how Darvish feels in the coming days, but the pitcher didn't rule out a return before the All-Star break.

"Because I had a similar injury when I had the Tommy John surgery, I'm more careful and more sensitive about it," Darvish said. "I want to take the time and process things slowly. ... Hopefully I can throw back into games soon."

Eventually, the conversation came back around to the fans, who have high expectations for him, considering his contract and resume. He's simply not living up to them yet -- and he knows it.

"I'm under expectancy performancewise, but I have to take it day by day, adjust the situation and go forward," Darvish said. "Instead of proving anything, just perform to the fullest."

Asked if he thought the fans liked him, Darvish quipped, "I'm going to ask each one of them."
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