The neck stiffness that grabbed Yu Darvish and the resulting hemming and hawing over how he could possibly be ready to pitch for the Texas Rangers without a rehab assignment has caused some angst among his and the Rangers’ fan base.
Having to answer questions about that seems to have caused the right-hander greater angst than the neck issue.
Darvish is scheduled to make his 2014 debut Sunday in the finale at Tropicana Field after a series of bullpen sessions rather than a start in the minor leagues. He hasn’t faced hitters since March 16, but he couldn’t care less.
“There’s no concern,” he said Friday. “What do I have to be concerned about? There have been times when I’ve had to throw with 45 days in between and I didn’t have problems. I don’t know what people are concerned about, but I certainly don’t have any concerns at all.”
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Darvish impressed in his four spring starts, but he had to be scratched from a minor-league outing March 21 after sleeping incorrectly on his neck. He was scratched from his Opening Day start March 25 and placed on the disabled list March 30, retroactive to March 21.
Darvish threw 86 pitches Tuesday during a bullpen session and should be able to give the Rangers 100 pitches against Tampa Bay.
“I don’t think I’m going to be throwing 120 pitches. I hope not,” he said. “As far as pitch count goes, I’m not really worried. Just like any other game in the season or spring training, I just have to do my job and pitch my game. That’s the only thing I’m concerned about.”