Yu Darvish scratched from opening day start, will see neck specialist

Yu Darvish will not be on the mound for the Rangers on opening day.
Yu Darvish will not be on the mound for the Rangers on opening day. (USATSI)

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The Rangers have scratched right-hander Yu Darvish from his opening day start, the team announced. He will travel to Texas to see specialist Dr. Drew Dossett on Wednesday about his troublesome neck.

"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.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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