Yu Darvish on track to start Sunday against Angels

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Yu Darvish was scratched from his scheduled start on Tuesday due to a stiff neck, but the Rangers won’t be without him for long.

According to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, Rangers officials said Darvish’s neck felt better after a long-toss session earlier today. He’s currently scheduled to throw off a mound tomorrow, which sets up a potential return this Sunday against Zack Greinke and the Angels. That should be a doozy of a matchup.

Darvish has compiled a 3.90 ERA through 28 starts in his first year stateside and currently ranks fourth in the American League with 214 strikeouts in 184 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old right-hander has logged seven straight quality starts and has a 1.46 ERA and a 42/8 K/BB ratio over his last five outings. Assuming he feels good enough to make the start Sunday, he’ll be in line to start Game 1 of the postseason.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.