The big right-hander had the start of his season delayed due to neck stiffness, but he was able to get through an 86-pitch bullpen session Tuesday night without any issues. When he reported no issues Wednesday, the Rangers didn't hesitate to throw him back into the rotation.
“Once his neck wasn't hurting him, we saw the same stuff we had been seeing from Yu,” manager Ron Washington said (dallasnews.com). “He didn't back up any. We feel like he is ready to go. He's strong as an ox.”
Darvish's re-insertion into the rotation moves Opening Day starter Tanner Scheppers back a day, so he'll start Monday instead of Sunday. Youngster Nick Martinez is slated to pitch Saturday and is the obvious candidate to head back down to the minors once Darvish is activated.
Darvish, 27, was 13-9 with a 2.83 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and an MLB-best 277 strikeouts last season, when he finished second in Cy Young voting to Max Scherzer.