The Texas Rangers are seemingly repeating their 2014 injury-riddled season. Yu Darvish, ace of the pitching staff, could be having Tommy John surgery. According to Jesse Sanchez and the Rangers press release, "Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, who left his start after one inning Thursday vs. Kansas City, underwent an MRI and examination...the test and examination indicated that Darvish has a sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament of his right elbow." This injury is certain doom for the Texas Rangers, for they are trying to compete in the AL West, and they need their whole team healthy if they want to do so. In 2014, the Texas Rangers were hit hard by injuries from Jurickson Profar, Prince Fielder, Derek Holland, Martin Perez, and Matt Harrison. Could Yu Darvish's UCL sprain be a sign of disaster for the Rangers in 2015?
Yu Darvish originally started his career in Japan, playing for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. He was excellent his rookie year, but really bloomed into a super star in his sophomore season in 2007. He compiled a 12-5 recod with 115 strikeouts and a 2.89 ERA, and won the Asia Series Most Valuable Player. The next season he was nearly unhittable. He posted a 15-5 record with a 1.82 ERA, 210 strikeouts, and limited batters to a .174 batting average. Over the rest of his career in Japan, he would compete with Hisashi Iwakuma and Masahiro Tanaka, who all made the leap to Major League Baseball.
Iwakuma and Darvish were both posted prior the the 2012 season, and all general managers salivated over the thought of him on their team. The Texas Rangers won the bid, and eventually signed Darvish for 6 years and $60 million dollars. He immediately became their ace, and was worth every penny. Fun fact, the first MLB hit he allowed by Ichiro Suzuki, also of Japanese descent. On April 2, 2013 Darvish had a perfect game through 8 2/3 innings, but his masterpiece was spoiled by a single by Marwin Gonzalez. In 2013, he compiled a 13-9 record with 277 strikeouts over about 200 innings. Darvish seamlessly transitioned to Major League Baseball, and is considered one of the best pitchers in the game today.
With this injury, Yu Darvish has a tough decision to make. Players like Matt Harvey, Jose Fernandez, and Masahiro Tanaka had the same UCL strain, but underwent different precedures. Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez had Tommy John surgury, and will return this season. Masahiro Tanaka opted for a rehab process, and will hope to bounce back this season as well. Yu Darvish's injury will have a huge impact on the Texas Rangers season, and the inexperienced pitching staff behind him will have to step up to win games. The loss of Darvish mirrors the disasters the Rangers had to endure in 2014. With bounce-back seasons from Fielder and Choo, the Rangers seem positioned to be better in 2015. But in order to compete they need a bonafide ace. Could the Texas Rangers now be interested in a reunion with Cliff Lee?
- Weston Robertson