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Darvish’s neck is fine, will start on Sunday

May 29, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Yu Darvish’s stiff neck was feeling much better on Wednesday, a big relief for the Texas Rangers a day after the Japanese pitching ace was scratched from his scheduled start against the Twins.

Darvish didn’t play Tuesday night because of discomfort in his neck, but Rangers manager Ron Washington said before Wednesday’s game against the Twins that the right-hander will start at the Nationals on Sunday.

An MRI on his neck showed there was nothing to be concerned about and Darvish was able to get through a workout on Wednesday with no issues.

Washington chose to just skip Darvish’s turn in the rotation rather than bump him back a day or two to make sure that Darvish is as close to 100 percent as possible before he returns to the mound.

“One thing about Yu Darvish, if he won’t be 100 percent, he’ll let us know,” Washington said.

Darvish is 4-2 with a 2.35 ERA, the fourth-best ERA in Major League Baseball and has 71 strikeouts in 61 1-3 innings. He didn’t pitch for three weeks in spring training because of a stiff neck, a condition that pushed back his first start of this season to April 6.

Washington said he wasn’t sure what caused the neck pain this time, but he wasn’t concerned about it becoming a nagging injury.

“Yu Darvish is a different animal,” Washington said. “He just doesn’t want to have any reason why he doesn’t feel well. So if he doesn’t feel right ... we’d much rather know he’s OK. We don’t want him worrying about it. So we’ll hold him back until Sunday.”

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