Yu Darvish has been scratched from his scheduled minor-league start today because of neck stiffness from sleeping wrong.
Darvish is day to day, but believes he’ll be ready to make his Opening Day start on March 31 against the Phillies.
“I’ve covered almost everything I wanted to cover in spring training,” Darvish said. “As far as a setback, I don’t think there is one. ... If I have about two days or three days, I’ll be able to make my next outing. I’ll be fine for Opening Day.”
Pitching coach Mike Maddux is developing a pitching plan that would allow Darvish to start Opening Day. Maddux likes all of the starters to reach the 95-100 pitch mark before the regular season begins, and Darvish was scheduled to throw six innings and 95 pitches today.
His next start would have been the Cactus League finale on Wednesday, and still might be.
Darvish had lower back issues near the end of last season, but assistant general manager Thad Levine said the Rangers do not believe the two are related at this point. Darvish also dealt with neck stiffness last spring, but Levine didn’t know how similar the two are.
Darvish, 27, has been on the disabled list once in his two-year career, landing on it last July with a right trapezius strain.
Darvish is 2-0 with a 3.68 ERA over four starts this spring. He was scheduled to throw six innings and 95 pitches today.
In other injury news:
• Shortstop Elvis Andrus (flexor tendinitis in right forearm) underwent an MRI exam Tuesday that revealed no structural damage. He will be evaluated by team physician Keith Meister later today.
• First baseman/ designated hitter Mitch Moreland (left oblique tightness) is also scheduled to see Meister today.
• Leftfielder Shin-Soo Choo (left elbow soreness) will be examined by Mesiter, as well. He continues to serve as DH in games.