Yu Darvish scratched from Opening Day start with neck injury

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Yu Darvish will not start on Opening Day for the Rangers, as the right-hander has been scratched from his Game 1 assignment due to a neck injury.

Darvish woke up one morning with a stiff neck last week and had to miss his spring training start Friday. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that Darvish will be examined later this week by a neck and back specialist and as of now at least the Rangers are still hoping that he can avoid the disabled list.

If he does need a DL stint Darvish would be joining injured rotation-mates Matt Harrison and Derek Holland on the shelf, which unfortunately for the Rangers is extremely crowded with their pitchers and position players. They’re not even sure who’ll make the Opening Day start.

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.