The following news sounds much worse that the Texas Rangers say it actually is:
Yu Darvish will be placed on the 15-day disabled list before Thursday night’s game at Camden Yards because of a strained right trapezius muscle.
But as Kevin Bacon says in Animal House, “Remain calm. All is well.”
Rangers general manager Thad Levine played the role of Chip Diller on Wednesday as he spread word of the injury, which, if at another time on the schedule, would result in Darvish simply being skipped a turn in the rotation.
However, with the All-Star break arriving Monday and the DL move retroactive to Sunday, Darvish is eligible to be reinstated July 22, in time for the Rangers’ fourth game of the second half.
He will miss only Thursday’s start and won’t be eligible to pitch next week in the All-Star Game.
“At this stage, it’s not something we’re really worried about,” Levine said. “It’s probably a little bit more fatigue than anything. But at this stage in the season, effectively we can give him two weeks down and miss only one start, and we think that’s the best thing to do for the team right now.”
The Rangers waited until after Wednesday’s game to name long man Ross Wolf as the spot starter for Darvish, and left-hander Joseph Ortiz will take Darvish’s spot on the active roster.
Darvish will be the fourth member of the Rangers’ Opening Day rotation to hit the DL. He will head to Arlington on Thursday for an exam with team physician Keith Meister, and the expectation is that Darvish will rejoin the team in Detroit.
Levine said that Darvish is planning to attend the All-Star Game. Darvish, who is 8-4 with a 3.02 ERA, also isn’t expecting to miss much time.
“I don’t think it’s a big issue,” he said. “But just as a precaution I would rather skip a start than push it through.”
The Rangers were made aware of the discomfort Monday after Darvish threw his between-starts bullpen session. He tested out the muscle again Wednesday and told pitching coach Mike Maddux and trainer Jamie Reed that he couldn’t go Thursday.
Levine said that the injury hadn’t popped up until Monday. Darvish has thrown a team-high 119 1/3 innings, which ranks ninth in the American League, but he leads the majors with 157 strikeouts and pitches per game at 109.5.
“When he threw his side after his last start, he felt a little bit of what he characterized as fatigue,” Levine said. “If anything, the fatigue seems to be localized in his upper back. It’s hopefully a move of prudence at this point.”