The sting still lingered in the Texas Rangers clubhouse a day later.
The news of Yu Darvish’s season-threatening arm injury blindsided his teammates as much as it did him.
Darvish will have a tear in his right elbow examined Tuesday by a second doctor, Mets medical director and orthopedic specialist Dr. David Altchek.
Rangers team physician Dr. Keith Meister detected the tear from an MRI after Darvish felt tightness during his spring debut Thursday in which he threw only 12 pitches.
“I don’t think anybody expected it to be as bad as it looks right now,” Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre said. “It was supposed to be only tightness.
“After the game, I asked him and he said there was no problem, it was only a little tightness. We were all shocked when we heard the news.”
Rangers players received word Saturday morning. After getting his second opinion Tuesday, Darvish is likely to undergo Tommy John surgery, which would keep him off the mound until a couple of months into the 2016 season.
Another option would be to rest and try to rehabilitate the torn fibers in his triceps. That would cost Darvish at least four months this season and potentially push his return back even further if it doesn’t heal without surgery.
Darvish plans to address the media after his Tuesday exam in New York, probably Wednesday back in Surprise.
Veteran pitcher Colby Lewis knows all too well the anguish his teammate is feeling. Lewis has had several major surgeries, including Tommy John as a teenager and an experimental hip resurfacing surgery in 2013.
“I always just left it in the hands of the doctor,” Lewis said. “I always opted to get it fixed. I never wanted to take that down time and think, ‘I didn’t get it fixed’ and six months later it still hurts.
“If I’m going to miss the time, I’d rather be hurt and have it fixed.”
Lewis briefly discussed the options with Darvish but knows the decision is ultimately a personal one.
“A lot of guys go through this,” he said. “It has a really high success rate. It’s nothing to get super discouraged about. With his work ethic, I know he’ll be back if he does opt for the surgery. It’s not going to be any major concern on my part that he wouldn’t be coming back from it.”
Darvish’s departure leaves a gaping hole in the Rangers’ rotation, which has just three established starters — Lewis, Derek Holland and Yovani Gallardo.
Holland is ready to grab the reins, take on the mantle, or become the heir apparent – whichever cliché you prefer.
“Big time,” he surmised. “I really have to step up. I know I’m capable of doing it and I’m going to do it. Colby is going to do his part. Yo is going to do his part, as well. We all have to step up, pick up a little more.”
Furthermore, Holland emphasized, the season is not lost because of the Darvish news.
“You can’t throw the season out just because of one guy,” he said. “It takes nine guys to win a game. Yes, we lost Darvish and we have to do whatever we can. We go down together, we do it all together; we’re a team.
“It obviously hit everybody [hard]. We took yesterday to kind of feel the pain and now today’s a new day. We have to go out there and prepare and get ourselves ready to do whatever it takes.”
Manager Jeff Banister’s message to his team — to feel how they want to feel and then move forward — resonated with the players, even the older veterans who’ve seen and heard it all.
“You always need to hear it,” Holland said. “No matter what the thing is, you got bad news. It’s not something anybody was expecting.
“We were all enjoying [spring training], everybody was on a high note, and then to hear something like that it will take you down real quick. The thing is, it’s how quickly can you pick yourself back up and go from there.”
For Holland, that means assuming the club’s ace role, a moniker he was already striving to earn before the Darvish development. Like Lewis, Holland knows what Darvish is going through. He missed most of 2014 with a knee injury.
“I’m gonna take the load from there and go,” Holland said. “If I have to wear it all the way out there and be the guy, then fine, I’m gonna do whatever it takes.
“He did it for me last year, it’s my turn to do it for him.”