Texas Rangers starting pitchers continue dropping like Spinal Tap’s drummers. On Tuesday it was announced that ace Yu Darvish will not start for the team on Opening Day thanks to a stiff neck. Darvish had been scratched from his final Cactus League start because of the injury and experienced discomfort during a throwing session on Monday.
Darvish attributed his neck pain to a bad night of sleep, but there could be more to it than that. The 27-year-old struggled with lower back problems at the end of last season as well. He showed up to spring training healthy, but this could be a recurring problem with his spine. He will see a specialist in Dallas on Wednesday.
Darvish was phenomenal in 2013 for the Rangers. He posted a 13-9 record with a 2.83 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP and an MLB-best 277 strikeouts in 209.2 innings. That followed a rookie season in which he was 16-9, with a 3.90 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP and 221 strikeouts in 191.1 innings.
Darvish is the third projected member of Texas’ pitching staff to be out with an injury. Lefty Derek Holland is likely out until midseason after microfracture surgery on his knee, and righty Matt Harrison is also out with a sore back. Harrison will likely start the season on the disabled list and blamed his back problems on a bad mattress at spring training.
Someone clearly needs to fly in some new beds to the Rangers’ Cactus League facility pronto.
Meanwhile, projected Opening Day position starters Geovany Soto (knee) and Jurickson Profar (shoulder) are both out for 10 to 12 weeks as well.
The Rangers will likely go with either Martin Perez or Tanner Scheppers on the mound for Opening Day, but it’s clear the team needs to get healthy in a hurry.