Yu Darvish is headed back to Japan at the end of the week for five to six weeks of rest.
The Texas Rangers right-hander, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, returns to Texas in early January. His trip coincides with a “no-throw” period the Rangers’ medical staff incorporated into his rehab. Martin Perez, who had the same surgery in May 2014, was the first Rangers pitcher to incorporate a “no-throw” segment to his rehab.
Yu Darvish will not throw for five to six weeks while he’s back home in Japan. He’ll resume his throwing program when he returns to Texas in early January.
“He’s right on schedule,” general manager Jon Daniels said Monday afternoon on the eve of the GM meetings at the Boca Raton Resort and Club. “The graft has healed.”
Darvish will resume throwing in January and remain in Texas leading up to spring training.
“We’re just trying to give these guys every opportunity to be healthy,” said Daniels. “We’re trying to figure out how to get ahead of the injury epidemic. It’s just one of the things we’re incorporating in our program.”
Darvish has stayed faithful to the rehab program, Daniels said.
“His work ethic is unbelievable but he understands he doesn’t want to go through this again so he doesn’t want to take any chances. He’s following the rehab protocol to a T,” he said. “He takes it very seriously. And he’s smart so he asks questions about the thought processes behind it.”
The Rangers are looking to add one starting pitcher this off-season and hope to find a fifth rotation member during a spring training competition among a slew of candidates, including Chi Chi Gonzalez, Nick Martinez, Nick Tepesch, Anthony Ranaudo, and Phil Klein.
Until you’ve made a move, until you’ve done something, this time of year you’re open to a lot of things.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels on the pitching situation
The rotation currently consists of left-handers Cole Hamels, Derek Holland and Martin Perez. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo has until Friday to accept or decline the club’s qualifying offer. If he declines, the Rangers’ desire to engage with free agent Colby Lewis is likely to intensify.
“We’re open to listen on anything. I’m sure 29 other clubs will tell you the same thing,” Daniels said. “We’re still pretty flexible at this point. Until you’ve made a move, until you’ve done something, this time of year you’re open to a lot of things.”
Infielder Jurickson Profar is feeling good at the plate in the Arizona Fall League. He has 10 hits (with four doubles, a triple and homer) in 11 games as a designated hitter while he returns from shoulder surgery last spring. Profar wanted to play winter ball but the Rangers don’t want to push his return after he missed most of the past two seasons because of shoulder injuries.
“He’s itching to go,” Daniels said. “I don’t think he’s happy with us that we’re not letting him go. We’re so close to kind of having this thing in the rearview mirror. I don’t see what’s to be gained from pushing it at this point.”
Profar will have a normal off-season and begin spring training “ready to go.”
If he continues to progress and plays well in March, then what? Rougned Odor has a toehold on second base, the last position Profar routinely played. Although it’s four months away, the Rangers plan to have Profar work exclusively at shortstop, at least early in the spring. With veteran Elvis Andrus seemingly entrenched there, Profar is likely start the season at Triple A Round Rock. Other positions for Profar, however, haven’t been ruled out, Daniels said.
“If he’s able to get to that point and it continues to go as well as it has here and he’s back to playing like the guy and the talent he’s always been … the discussion at that point would be what’s best for him, what’s best for us,” he said.
Tate in town
Right-hander Dillon Tate, the Rangers’ 2015 first-round pick (No. 4 overall), is working out at TMI Sports Medicine in Arlington this month.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760