"I knew I wasn't going to be ready for opening day so I made this decision," Darvish said to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. "I didn't want to burden the team so I made the decision now. If it was a shoulder or an elbow, it would be really different. I don't know what to feel. It is what it is."
Darvish, 27, was scratched from a start with a stiff neck last week, an injury he attributed to sleeping on it wrong. He said he only expected to miss two or three days, but obviously it is more severe than that. Darvish pitched through a nerve problem in his lower back last season.
"I think we are at the point where we need to start ruling things out," assistant GM Thad Levine said. "Sadly, we've been using (the DL) too often, but we play 162 games. We need to take the right approach. At this stage, we need to know exactly what we are dealing with."
In 32 starts and 209 2/3 innings last season, Darvish went 13-9 with a 2.83 ERA (145 ERA+) and led baseball in both strikeouts (277) and strikeout rate (11.9 K/9). That earned him a second place finish in the AL Cy Young voting.
The Rangers have not determined who will start opening day in Darvish's place. Martin Perez seems like the obvious candidate, but at this point of the spring, it's as much about who lines up to pitch that day as who is the most qualified.
Texas opens its season Monday at home against the Phillies.