Cubs bench Darvish due to illness after winless start

Yu Darvish of the Chicago Cubs warms up before the first inning during the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on March 31, 2018 in Miami, Florida

Chicago (AFP) – Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish has been placed on Major League Baseball’s 10-day disabled list due to illness, missing his scheduled start Tuesday against the Miami Marlins.

The 31-year-old Japanese right-hander, signed to a six-year deal worth $126 million by the Cubs in February, is off to an 0-3 start to the campaign in six appearances with a 6.00 earned-run average.

“It’s one of those things where you don’t know if he’s going to start feeling better or not,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said in a posting on the team’s website. “I talked to him before (Monday’s) game and he still wasn’t good.”

The Cubs put Darvish on the list retroactive to Friday with a flu virus, which would allow him to be reactivated in time for next Monday’s game against Atlanta.

Theo Epstein, the Cubs president of baseball operations, says Darvish simply needs to become more comfortable with his new club.

“He’s really talented,” Epstein said. “It’s not like he’s feeling anything physical. It’s just getting him to a comfort zone and letting him play.”

Darvish, a 2008 Olympian and star for Japan’s 2009 World Baseball Classic championship squad, starred for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan before joining MLB’s Texas Rangers in 2012, staying with the club until being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last July.

After two solid playoff outings to help the Dodgers reach the World Series, Darvish was pounded by the Houston Astros and didn’t manage to get past the second inning in two starts, including the decisive seventh game. That had not happened to a World Series pitcher since 1960.

Darvish surrendered nine runs over 3 1/3 innings with no strikeouts as the Astros took the crown and Darvish was released.