Yu Darvish will be skipped from his final first-half start

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T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com provides the scoop:

The Rangers have decided to not pitch Yu Darvish until after the All-Star break.

The Rangers have decided that Martin Perez will pitch on Friday and Derek Holland will pitch on Saturday against the Twins. Holland will be activated off the disabled list. The Rangers haven’t decided their second half rotation yet.

It’s not a health thing nor an endurance thing — Darvish threw over 230 innings last year in Japan.

It’s just a little extra rest for a guy who commanded a total commitment of $112 million this past winter.

Darvish has posted a cool 3.59 ERA and 1.36 WHIP through the first 16 starts of his major league career, fanning 117 batters and walking 53 in 102 2/3 innings.  The 25-year-old native of Japan has all the weapons to be great, and the Rangers have to be pleased with their investment thus far. He is currently leading the American League All-Star team’s “Final Vote” balloting. David Freese is tops in the National League.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.