SURPRISE, ARIZONA – Yu Darvish will miss his scheduled start in Monday’s season opener, leaving the already injury-riddled Texas Rangers without their ace.
Darvish said through his interpreter Tuesday that he knew he wasn’t going to be ready to pitch in the opener at home against Philadelphia because of neck stiffness.
The announcement came a day after Darvish stopped throwing while playing catch.
Darvish, who missed a minor-league start on Friday due to the injury, will return to Dallas for medical evaluation and was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday.
Though the 27-year-old had hoped to recover in time for the March 31 Opening Day contest against the Phillies, his condition has failed to improve.
“It’s going to take some more time,” said Darvish, who had attributed the pain to sleeping badly on his neck. “Since I know it won’t get better immediately, I made the decision now rather than waiting until the very end of camp. I didn’t want to burden the team.”
Darvish is scheduled to be examined by spine and back specialist Dr. Drew Dossett.
The Rangers will then determine what to do next, including the possibility of Darvish going on the disabled list. A DL move could be backdated and allow him to be eligible for a return only a week into the season.
It was the third day in the row the Rangers got significantly bad injury news.
On Sunday, the team found out prized prospect and expected everyday second baseman Jurickson Profar will miss 10 to 12 weeks with a muscle tear in his right shoulder. Then it was announced Monday that catcher Geovany Soto is expected out about the same amount of time with a muscle tear in his right knee.
The Rangers, who last season missed the playoffs for the first time in four years, already knew they would be starting the season without left-handers Matt Harrison (back) and Derek Holland (microfracture knee surgery) in the rotation. Harrison could be back by mid-April.