Right-hander Yu Darvish will likely be back on a major league mound within a week, but the Texas Rangers are still determining the route he will take to get there.
Darvish threw a 32-pitch bullpen without issues Sunday, his first time on a mound since being scratched from a minor-league start March 21 because of tightness in his neck that lingered and forced him to miss a scheduled Opening Day start.
Club officials were planning to meet Monday after the opener to chart a course for Darvish, the reigning Cy Young runner-up. It’s possible that he won’t be required to make a rehab start even though he hasn’t faced hitters since March 16.
“It shouldn’t take long based on how he’s looked and how he feels, but we’re not going to lock into a date,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “He’s a little bit of a different guy. He knows his body and knows how he’s feeling. He’s going to miss one start at a minimum, and we want to keep that number down. We don’t want this to be a recurring things.”
One thing that seemed reasonably certain is that right-hander Nick Martinez will pitch at Tampa Bay on Saturday, the first day Darvish is eligible to be reinstated from the 15-day disabled list.
But it could be just the one start for the prospect. In addition to Darvish’s imminent return, righty Colby Lewis could also be back next week. He will start Tuesday in an exhibition between the Triple A and Double A clubs in what he hopes the last time he must prove that his surgically repaired right hip is healthy.
“He had a very good spring, he’s a competitor and he wants to be out here Day One,” Daniels said. “I don’t blame him at all for feeling that way. In a lot of ways, he did what he needed to do. We’re just of the mindset to be a little extra cautious.”