Yu Darvish

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Yu Darvish throwing long-toss in Texas, expected to be 100 percent for Opening Day 2015

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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.

Report: Nationals open to trading Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg
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They may keep Jordan Zimmermann, but USA TODAY’s John Perrotto reports that the Nationals are open to trading Stephen Strasburg, saying he is “very much available”. He adds that both sides believe it is time to move on.

Strasburg, 26, avoided arbitration in his second year of eligibility last week, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $7.4 million. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in his final year going into the 2016 season, after which he can become a free agent.

Strasburg has been one of baseball’s best starters over the past three seasons, compiling an aggregate 3.10 ERA with a 630/147 K/BB ratio in 557 1/3 innings. His 28 percent strikeout rate over that span of time is bested only by Yu Darvish (30.1%) and new teammate Max Scherzer (28.6%).

Yu Darvish has been cleared to resume throwing

Yu Darvish AP
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Rangers ace Yu Darvish, who missed the final six weeks of the season with an elbow injury, has been cleared to resume throwing.

T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that an MRI exam came back clean, so Darvish will begin his usual offseason throwing schedule. He’s expected to do some throwing in early December.

Before being shut down Darvish was his usual fantastic self with a 3.07 ERA and 182 strikeouts in 144 innings, posting a double-digit strikeout rate for the third time in three MLB seasons.