Cubs scratch Darvish with right forearm tightness

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              Chicago Cubs' starting pitcher Yu Darvish winds up during the second inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs scratched scheduled starter Yu Darvish on Sunday because of right forearm tightness, sidelining the Japanese right-hander after one of his best performances with the team.

Darvish pitched eight sparkling innings in a 5-2 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night. He is 3-2 with a 2.93 ERA over his last nine starts in his best stretch since signing a $126 million, six-year contract with Chicago before last season.

While forearm tightness can be a harrowing sign for pitchers, Darvish has been dealing with the issue for about five outings. The Cubs haven’t sent him for any tests, and manager Joe Maddon thinks Darvish will be able to take his next turn in the rotation Saturday at Milwaukee.

“Just like a precautionary thing,” Maddon said. “I mean, the guy’s pitching a lot this year compared to what he did last year. We’re really jumping his innings, so we want to be a little bit proactive with this thing. We anticipate playing a lot longer than just the rest of this month.”

Darvish is 5-6 with a 4.25 ERA over 27 starts and 152 1/3 innings. Due to injuries, he was limited to eight starts and 40 innings last year in his first season with Chicago.

“It’s been varying levels,” pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said. “There’s some starts where it was bugging him and you’d even see him on the mound kind of do some of the flexing stuff, and then there’s other times where he’s throwing six innings and feels great, but the next day is when he feels it.

“So when you have that forearm stiffness a day before your start, it’s a little more full of hysteria for us to make sure we get this taken care of and then have him ready for the rest of the way.”

Tyler Chatwood replaced the 33-year-old Darvish on Sunday against the Brewers. He allowed one run and three hits over 3 2/3 innings in the Cubs’ 4-0 loss.

Chatwood said he found out Saturday he was going to step in for Darvish.

“It was just another day. Luckily, I’ve started before, so you just kind of do your starter routine,” he said.

The Cubs began the day in the second wild-card slot in the NL, 2½ games back of NL Central-leading St. Louis.

The extra rest for Darvish also comes with the Cubs welcoming some help for their bullpen. Major league teams can expand their active rosters beyond 25 players in September, and right-handers Alec Mills and Duane Underwood Jr. and left-hander Brad Wieck were recalled from Triple-A Iowa before the loss to Milwaukee.

The Cubs also brought up outfielder Albert Almora Jr., utilityman Robel Garcia and catcher Taylor Davis from Iowa, and veteran infielder Daniel Descalso was activated from the 10-day injured list. He had been sidelined by a sprained left ankle.