Yu Darvish expects to return to Rangers’ rotation Saturday

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Rangers ace Yu Darvish had to be scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday in Minnesota because of lingering stiffness in his neck, but he hasn’t been placed on the disabled list yet and could be ready by his next turn through the Texas starting rotation.

According to Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, the right-hander played catch Wednesday and told reporters through an interpreter afterward that he expects to start this Saturday in Washington, D.C. against the host Nationals. Darvish underwent an MRI on his neck Tuesday after he was scratched and the results were called “unremarkable.”

The 27-year-old owns a 2.35 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 71 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings this season.

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.