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.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.