Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish was scheduled to have an MRI on Friday afternoon and be evaluated by team physician Dr. Keith Meister after experiencing tightness in his right triceps Thursday.
Darvish left his first spring start on Thursday after just 12 pitches.
“The fact that he had an injury last year, if he’s expressing any similar symptoms we’re going to play this by the book before we put him back on the mound,” Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said Friday morning. “We’re just going to leave no stone unturned. He’s too important to the team. We just want to have every single piece of information we can possibly have before we make the next decision on him.”
Darvish said he felt fine Friday morning, and Levine cautioned that the club was not overly concerned. Considering that Darvish missed more than the final month of last season because of inflammation in his throwing arm, the club intends on being extra diligent.
“I’d like to sit here and tell you we have no concern, but the reality is anytime a pitcher expresses any sort of discomfort in his arm we’re going to want to evaluate it fully,” Levine said. “We’re going to let Dr. Meister evaluate him and review the MRI and basically tell us how concerned we should be right now.”
Darvish felt tightness during warmups Thursday. If the club had known, Levine said, Darvish’s start would have been scratched.
“I don’t think we would have encouraged him to pitch if he had expressed that to us,” he said.
But as soon as Darvish told trainers after completing his lone inning in 12 pitches, a “collective” decision was made to pull him. He was scheduled to throw 35 pitches or two innings on Thursday.
“With any pitcher this time of season we’re not going to let them go back on the mound,” Levine said. “It was really a collective decision. Yu participated in it. But we’re going to take it out of the players’ hands once a pitcher expresses any sort of tightness in his arm.”
Levine dismissed the notion the club is being overly cautious because of the Rangers’ injury situation a year ago, which not only included Darvish, but multiple key players in the starting lineup and pitching rotation.
“Every team faces adversity. Nobody feels sorry for any teams. We’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves,” he said. “We know adversity is going to come. We had a rough season last year when it came to injuries but there’s no sentiment of like ‘here we go again.’ ”
“I think it’s more the timing of year right now than an overall strategy,” he added. “We have a lot of season ahead of us. We’re not going to make a capricious decision now that could possibly impact the season.”
Elvis Andrus and Mitch Moreland are in the Rangers’ lineups for Sunday’s split-squad games.
Moreland, who is recovering from ankle surgery last summer, is batting third and playing first against the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz.
Andrus (sore left knee) is batting second and playing shortstop against the Indians in Surprise. It will be the first spring game for both.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760