Yu Darvish’s comeback program continued Friday morning with a 25-pitch session off a half-mound for the third time this week.
He’s expected to throw off a full-sized mound either Sunday or Monday for the first time since Tommy John surgery a year ago.
Pitching coach Doug Brocail said Darvish will be held to 15 pitches and that the decision whether to throw Sunday or Monday is up to the right-hander. If he’s comfortable maintaining the every other day pace, which he’s been on since Monday, he’ll throw Sunday.
His catcher for the regular mound session will crouch in front of the plate to limit the stress during his return to a regular mound.
“I don’t ever want him to take a mound where he has anything in the back of his mind, like I’m a little tight, I don’t feel as well,” Brocail said. “For me, if that happens, I want the complete day off, I don’t want him to touch a ball — go do your stuff, get out of here, clear your mind, show up the next day.”
Darvish showed some fatigue during his 25-pitch session, Brocail said. He’s increased by five pitches with his first three sessions.
“We want that fatigue, we want that recovery to see how he bounces back,” he said. “the way that we’ve stretched this thing out and have him throwing every other day, 25 is a lot of pitches for a guy.”
So far, so good, Brocail said.
“He’s in a good place,” he said. “This is about him getting stronger and letting the ball go freely instead of having to worry if the ball’s down and trying to place the ball. I’m not worried about location.”