Monday it was reported that there was the possibility that the Texas Ranger’s ace, Yu Darvish, may not pitch on Opening Day when the Rangers take on the Philadelphia Phillies in Arlington (yes, I did say that correctly, I have no idea why they are playing an Interleague game so early). Tuesday morning the news got worse for the Rangers.
Monday, Rangers’ general manager Jon Daniels downplayed Darvish’s neck injury saying,
“Whenever a guy is not out there, there is some level of concern … I’m optimistic he will be able to take his turn, but if we have to move him back it’s not the end of the world.”
Apparently Daniels’ “level of concern” is now elevated. According to Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas, Darvish has officially been scratched from his opening day start and will be heading back to Dallas shortly to see the team’s back specialist, Dr. Drew Dorsett, on Wednesday. It is more than likely that Darvish, like many other Rangers players including pitchers Derek Holland and Matt Harrison, will start the season on the disabled list.
This is another huge blow to Texas in the last few days. They also learned that second baseman Jurickson Profar and catcher Geovany Soto will both be out for approximately the next three months. Those major players now combined with three of their starting pitchers could spell disaster for the Rangers.
The question that remains is who will start for the Rangers on Opening Day? General manager Ron Washington is basically down to two choices 22-year old Martin Perez and 27-year old Tanner Scheppers. The consensus among many is that Washington will go with Scheppers, even though Scheppers has never started a Major League game and Perez started game 163 last season for the Rangers. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reasoned that,
” …the Rangers do have concerns about Perez’s emotions getting the best of him amid the pageantry of opening day and that’s why Scheppers emerges as a realistic possibility. The Rangers feel Scheppers, at 27, may be a bit more mature than Perez, who turns 23 on April 4.”
This really puts Washington in a tough position. He must either go with a complete rookie on Opening Day or a guy whose emotional maturity he cannot trust. The Rangers luck at this point, it seems, just can’t get any worse.