The Rangers got some terrible news on Saturday morning, learning that ace Yu Darvish was diagnosed with a UCL sprain in his right elbow, which could ultimately result in Tommy John surgery. Though the Rangers had been linked to the Mets’ Dillon Gee and the Phillies’ Cole Hamels during the off-season, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that they’ll look for rotation replacements in-house first.
This means Ross Detwiler, Nick Tepesch, Nick Martinez, Anthony Ranaudo, and Lisalverto Bonilla will all showcase their skills for spots at the back of the Rangers’ rotation this spring. Yovani Gallardo and Colby Lewis, who have each had terrible starts to the spring, appear to be the only locks in the rotation at this point. Derek Holland is dealing with shoulder soreness which has kept him from an intrasquad game and pushed back his scheduled bullpens, so he’ll be a bit behind his rotation mates in terms of spring progress.
If the Rangers were to talk to the Phillies about Hamels, any trade proposal would likely have to include 21-year-old catching prospect Jorge Alfaro.
Awful news here for the Rangers and baseball fans in general, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that Yu Darvish has been diagnosed with a sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He’ll be further evaluated, but the belief is that he could need season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Darvish was shut down early last season due to right elbow inflammation and left his first start of the spring this week due to what was termed as tightness in his right triceps. The Rangers downplayed the severity of the situation, but now he’s facing the worst-case scenario.
Here’s Darvish’s reaction to the bad news, via Grant:
While Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka is trying to pitch through his UCL injury, there aren’t many success stories with pitchers opting for rehab over Tommy John surgery. If Darvish tries to rehab the injury and ultimately needs the surgery, he could be at risk for missing 2015 and 2016, so there’s a lot on the line with this decision. The Rangers had no luck on the health front last year and with Darvish and Jurickson Profar, they are off to a pretty rotten start already in 2015.
Darvish, 28, has compiled a 3.27 ERA with 11.2 K/9 in 83 starts over his first three seasons in the majors.
For now the Rangers are saying it’s no big deal, but Yu Darvish exited his first spring training start today after just one inning and given his elbow problems last season it’s definitely worrisome.
Today’s issue is officially being termed tightness in his right triceps.
Darvish spent the final six weeks of last season on the disabled list, limiting him to just 22 starts and 144 innings. Before the injury he was his usual dominant self, posting a 3.06 ERA with 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings.
Rangers starter Yu Darvish suffered a right elbow injury in August last season. He was expected back by the end of the month, but as the Rangers, who finished 67-95, weren’t headed anywhere, Darvish took it slow and eventually was shut down for the remainder of the season.
Darvish’s toughness and commitment to the team were questioned, as a writer last year suggested the right-hander should have pitched through the elbow pain. He finally had a chance to respond to his critics in a press conference on Sunday. As Pat Doney of NBC DFW reported, it was Darvish’s first press conference speaking English. Asked if he hit on the Rangers last season, the ace replied, “That is bull [expletive].”
Darvish, 28, recently threw a bullpen without any problems. He’s expected to be ready to go on Opening Day for the Rangers. Darvish finished last season with a 3.06 ERA and a 182/49 K/BB ratio in 144 1/3 innings.
Yu Darvish was shut down prematurely in 2014 due to inflammation in his pitching elbow, but he’s had a fairly normal offseason and should be 100 percent heading into the opening of the 2015 campaign.
Darvish was cleared to begin a throwing program in December and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth-Star Telegram reports that the right-hander has now progressed to sessions of long-toss in Arlington, Texas. There hasn’t even been a hint of a setback.
Darvish was limited to 144 1/3 innings last year but registered a stellar 3.06 ERA and 11.3 K/9. The 28-year-old boasts a 3.27 ERA (127 ERA+) and 11.2 K/9 in 545 1/3 career major league frames.
He should be the Rangers’ Opening Day starter on April 6 against the Athletics.