Rangers' Darvish to have season-ending surgery Tuesday
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Yu Darvish said he didn't need any more opinions once the first doctor recommended season-ending surgery on the ailing right elbow of the Texas Rangers ace.
The Japanese right-hander waited for two more reports anyway before the announcement that Dr. James Andrews will perform elbow ligament-replacement surgery on Tuesday in Gulf Breeze, Florida.
Andrews was the last of three doctors to review images of the 28-year-old's elbow, following Rangers team physician Dr. Keith Meister and New York Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek. Tommy John surgery likely will sideline Darvish until early 2016.
"Obviously it's a bump in a road for my career and obviously for the team that I'm not going to be able to throw," Darvish said Friday through an interpreter. "But there's a lot of positives that can come out of this."
From a Texas point of view, one of those positives is that Darvish will stay with the Rangers while he recovers from surgery rather than return to Japan. General manager Jon Daniels said Darvish should be back in Arizona by Wednesday night.
"What was most important to us is that he would rehab in Texas and with the team, both from the standpoint of being with our people, so we could have our hands on him, but also from the standpoint of being with the club, around his teammates, around our staff," Daniels said. "Yu was totally on board with that."
An MRI last week revealed a partially torn ligament and inflammation after Darvish felt tightness in his triceps while warming up for his spring training debut. He threw 10 of 12 pitches for strikes in his only inning before telling anyone about the discomfort.
An All-Star in each of his three seasons since arriving from Japan, Darvish started last season on the disabled list after experiencing neck stiffness in spring training. He missed only one start then, and was 10-7 with a 3.06 ERA in 22 starts and made his final appearance on Aug. 9 because of elbow inflammation.
The elbow checked out fine during the offseason.
"I didn't think this was going to happen," said Darvish, who will return with two years left on a six-year deal worth $56 million, a deal signed after the Rangers agreed to pay almost $52 million for his rights. "During that time, I thought it was nothing more than elbow inflammation."
Daniels said Darvish could be back in the rotation by May 2016 and suggested it could be earlier.
"Every rehab is a little different, so I'm not going to put a stopwatch on it," Daniels said. "Our goal is to get him back once with no setbacks. It's too early to put a date on it."
Darvish is 39-25 in 83 starts for the Rangers, with 680 strikeouts in 545 1-3 innings. He led the majors with 277 strikeouts in 2013.
First-year manager Jeff Banister reiterated that he's now trying to fill two rotation spots behind right-handers Yovani Gallardo and Colby Lewis and lefty Derek Holland. And he's already looking forward to next season, when he figures to fill out a lineup card with Darvish's name on it for the first time.
"We'll leave the light on for him," Banister said.
Darvish said he never felt pain in his elbow, but doctors warned that a thinning of the ligament put him at risk of a more significant tear if he tried to pitch after several months of rest without surgery.
"I have no worries whatsoever," Darvish said. "I feel like during this time there are a lot of things I can do to make myself better, knowing this is going to make me better."