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.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.