Major League Baseball
Darvish leaves 3rd Rangers start since Tommy John after 5
Major League Baseball

Darvish leaves 3rd Rangers start since Tommy John after 5

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 5:34 p.m. ET

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Yu Darvish had just thrown a 63 mph breaking ball for a strikeout in the fifth inning when he started stretching out and shaking his right his arm. When he walked the next batter, the Texas Rangers' pitching coach and trainer made a visit to the mound.

It was concerning for the Rangers since Darvish was in only his third start since Tommy John surgery in March 2015, and he made an earlier-than-expected exit after finishing that inning. But the right-hander from Japan didn't sound too concerned after a 3-1 loss to Houston on Wednesday night when he said neck tightness caused some tightness in his shoulder.

''I believe that tomorrow, I think I can play catch, no problem,'' Darvish said through his interpreter. ''Everybody told me after the Tommy John surgery you go through all those small things from the different places on your body. I think it's one of those things and I'm not too concerned about that.''

Texas had planned for Darvish to throw up to 95 pitches after he won in each of his first two starts. But he threw only 76 pitches, with seven strikeouts and four walks before leaving with the game tied 1-1. The only run he allowed in his five innings was a homer to George Springer leading off the game.


''I felt like overall it went pretty well,'' he said. ''I was a little bit all over the place, but compared to the last outing, I feel my pitches are all better, and overall I gave up one run.''

Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre felt tightness in his left hamstring after rounding second base in the eighth inning, and will be re-valuated Thursday. Jurickson Profar took over as a pinch-runner and then played third base, like he will Thursday in what was already a scheduled day off for the 37-year-old Beltre.

Darvish was seen shaking his arm after the slow breaking pitch that struck out Springer for the second out of the fifth. After walk, there was a gathering on the mound that included pitching coach Doug Brocail, a trainer, the interpreter, the catcher and the entire Rangers infield.

After throwing a couple of warmup pitches, Darvish stayed in and retired Carlos Correa on an inning-ending fly out. Shawn Tolleson took over in the sixth, and Tom Wilhelmsen (2-3) was pitching the seventh when Jose Altuve had a tiebreaking two-run double.

The Rangers said Darvish's early exit was a precaution and that an examination by team physician Dr. Keith Meister revealed no issues.

''I just noticed some body language, started stretching his arm a little bit, a little out of character,'' manager Jeff Banister said. ''Looked like he started regulating the fastball a little bit.''

Darvish had elbow surgery on March 17, 2015, after missing the last two months of the 2014 season because of right elbow inflammation.

He made five injury rehabilitation starts for Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock last month and rejoined the Rangers on May 28 against Pittsburgh, when he struck out seven and allowed one run while throwing 81 pitches over five innings. He struck out five and walked one in 5 2/3 innings against Seattle on Friday night.


Texas had won its first eight games this season against the Astros. Houston had also lost 12 straight in Arlington, matching their club record for longest road losing streak against one opponent. The Rangers had their season-best five-game winning streak snapped.


The Rangers will try Thursday to win their 10th consecutive series at home which would be a club record. They have won their last five series overall this season, their longest streak since six straight last year.


Ian Desmond had an RBI groundout for the Texas run in the third, after the center fielder threw out Jason Castro trying to score in the top of the inning.


Doug Fister (6-3) got his fifth straight win over his last eight starts - all Astros victories. The right-hander had five strikeouts while allowing one run over six innings. Will Harris worked the ninth for his second save, and 26th consecutive scoreless appearance. His 26 1-3 consecutive scoreless innings are the longest streak in the majors this season.


Rangers: C Robinson Chirinos is expected to be back with the Rangers on Thursday, the same day he is eligible to come off the DL (broken right forearm). It was unclear when exactly he would be reinstated from the DL.


Astros: RHP Collin McHugh (5-4) pitches against Texas for the first time this season. He has 35 wins overall since Aug. 1, 2014.

Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (4-4) goes for his fourth consecutive win. He is facing the Astros for the first time this season.


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