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Darvish scratched from start as stiff neck returns

AP

Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish was scratched from his scheduled start at Minnesota because of neck stiffness he woke up with, and right-hander Scott Baker was summoned back from the bullpen to face his former team Tuesday night.

This was yet another injury to a star player for the ailing Rangers, who entered the day with wins in five of their previous six games despite the persistence of health problems.

“Just go play. Everyone still has a job to do. We’ve lost a lot of good ballplayers, but we’ve also got a lot of good ballplayers out there,” said manager Ron Washington, who learned of the latest setback around noon, seven hours before first pitch.

The Rangers were hoping Darvish would be able to avoid the disabled list, and they received favorable news from a precautionary MRI test on his neck, which was stiff enough in spring training to keep him from pitching for nearly three weeks and delay his season debut by one start until April 6.

The team announced a few minutes before Baker took the mound that Darvish’s test was “unremarkable” in that it showed no trouble in his neck worse than his previous problem. Darvish was taking medication and receiving treatment and reported improvement from earlier in the day. The date of his next start was still to be determined, depending on how he feels Wednesday.

Baker, who was a second-round draft pick by the Twins out of Oklahoma State in 2003, spent five seasons at the front of their rotation until an elbow injury forced Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in 2012.