MESA, Ariz. - Amid widespread concern about the coronavirus, Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish decided to be extra careful after he developed a cough this week.
The Japanese right-hander visited with at least two doctors and stayed away from the team for a day before throwing three innings in a simulated game Friday.
Darvish said he started to cough after practice Wednesday. He was still coughing and sneezing a little bit on Thursday, so he called Nao Masamoto in the Cubs' player development and amateur scouting department before going to the team's spring training facility.
Darvish was met by team physician Dr. Stephen Adams in the parking lot, and Adams sent Darvish to a doctor's office to get checked. Darvish was scratched from his scheduled start against Texas.
“I'm just coughing from two days ago and I feel different than usual, but I just make sure I'm good or not,” Darvish said Friday. “I don't want to be in the clubhouse, if I have the coronavirus or something like that, coming into the clubhouse and spread to everybody, that's not good, right?”
The sports world has been anxiously monitoring the virus outbreak, leading to the cancellation of some events and empty stadiums for some games. There have been positive tests for the virus in Florida and Arizona — where big league teams are camped for spring training — and Major League Baseball has sent at least two memos to its clubs with advice and potential guidelines.
Darvish said he feels good now, but he's still coughing a little bit. He also mentioned an allergy to house dust as a possible cause for his symptoms.
The 33-year-old, heading into the third season of a $126 million, six-year contract, is in the mix to start on opening day after he finished strong last year. He had a 2.76 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 81 2/3 innings over his last 13 starts.
Darvish threw about 50 pitches in his simulated game. He surrendered a home run to veteran outfielder Steven Souza Jr.
“Every time I pitch a live BP or sim game you just feel weird,” he said. “You know, no sound. So that's why it's hard to get into the game. No adrenaline. But feel good today. Fastball coming out good. Breaking ball was good. Command was a little off, but good enough.”