Rangers to send ace Darvish for MRI exam on sore triceps
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The folks in the Rangers front office would be forgiven for feeling a little bit uneasy these days. After an injury-plagued 2014 season, even minor injuries are cause for major concern.
Especially when one of them happens to the staff ace.
Three-time All-Star Yu Darvish was headed for an MRI exam Friday after leaving his spring training debut the previous day with tightness in his right triceps. Darvish experienced the pain while warming up in the bullpen and it did not go away over the course of 12 pitches.
"We had a rough season last year in terms of injuries, but there's no sentiment of `here we go again,'" assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "We know we're going to have an injury at some point and it's probably going to be a very good player, because we have a lot of them."
Texas set a record last season for active players on a 25-man roster during its snake bitten campaign. Forty different pitchers were used, including three position players. Fourteen different pitchers started a game and nobody in the rotation made more than 25 starts.
Among those who wound up on the disabled list was Darvish, who began the season there with tightness in his neck, then ended it there with inflammation in his right elbow.
Levine said the tightness Darvish experienced Thursday was in a different place than the inflammation he had last season, and does not think they are related. But it won't be until team physician Dr. Kevin Meister can look over the MRI exam results that they will know for sure.
That might not be until late Friday or early Saturday.
"We're going to leave no stone unturned. He's too important to the team," Levine said. "He had an injury last year and we just want to have every piece of information we possibly can have before we make the next decision on him."
Darvish went 10-7 with a 3.06 ERA last season, pitching well when he was available. He's expected to anchor a starting rotation that could be solid if it remains healthy.
"We know as long as this game is played -- there is 162 games -- there is always a chance players are going miss time," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It's an opportunity to move through adversity, move past it and galvanize a ball club and bring us all together."
Darvish is hardly the only injury concern already in spring training.
The Rangers had to scratch fellow starter Derek Holland from an intrasquad game last Sunday due to shoulder soreness. Levine said he will be examined by Meister on Friday as well before the team determines the next step in his return to the mound.
Shortstop Elvis Andrus has been hobbled by a sore knee that has limited him to infield drills the past couple days. He will also be re-examined on Friday.
Michael Kirkman, who is trying to win a bullpen job, has been dealing with an impingement in the back of his shoulder. He was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday or Saturday.
"Every team faces adversity," Levine said. "What we've been very in tune with, nobody feels sorry for anybody. Hunter Pence just broke his arm, he's going to be out six to eight weeks. We're not going to feel sorry for any teams; we're not going to feel sorry for ourselves."