Cubs pitcher Darvish hospitalized with flu-like illness

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish missed his scheduled pre-season Major League Baseball start for the Chicago Cubs on Thursday in Arizona and was hospitalized with flu-like symptoms.

But the 33-year-old Japanese right-hander says he has no fever and no flu after being tested by doctors following worries that began when Darvish developed a cough on Wednesday.

An illness has surrounded the club since the start of pre-season training, with manager David Ross hospitalized for a day and missing the Cubs' first three exhibition games as well as several players displaying flu-like symptoms.

Add growing concerns about the coronavirus across the nation and in Darvish's homeland and the Cubs have been extra cautious in handling illnesses.

"We're taking precautions, especially with all the stuff that's going around," Ross said in a posting on the MLB website. "We're making sure that we get these guys hydrated and feeling good.

"I know how bad, personally, that gets, so just extra cautious in that area and make sure we try to do our best to not spread it around."

Darvish tweeted his situation when he was sent to the hospital, saying he didn't want to enter the clubhouse with a cough and therefore notified the team, who cancelled his start and set him to the hospital as a precaution.

"No fever, no flu," Darvish later tweeted.

Darvish was to have pitched against his former club, the Texas Rangers, on Thursday.

"They think he's going to be fine," said Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein of Darvish's doctors, saying the standout was likely to make a quick return.

Darvish, if healthy, could pitch for the Cubs on Friday or Saturday or in a simulated game, either of which would keep him in rotation for a potential start in the Cubs' regular-season opener against Milwaukee on March 26.

Darvish threw two innings against Milwaukee in his pre-season debut last Saturday, striking out three batters while walking none and allowing only one run.

"It all obviously depends on how many days he may be out and how he feels when he gets back out here," Ross said. "We've got to listen to our bodies, especially this time of year and make sure we don't push somebody when they're either dehydrated, or make sure they're feeling well and able to get the most out of them."