If the Rangers are to repeat as division champs, a big piece of the equation may be the return of their staff ace.
After missing last season with Tommy John surgery, Yu Darvish is expected back during the first half of the 2016 season. Needless to say, many are excited to see if Darvish returns to “Yu Darvish” mode once he’s cleared.
The Rangers righty continued his throwing program during the offseason, and the results sound good. Once Darvish gets the green light, the spotlight will shine on his first start back. Pitch count, quality of pitches; all that stuff matters when evaluating the road back from surgery. However, the importance isn’t just for that game, but for the start after that.
There are many reasons why his second start is just as important, if not more, as his first. How will his arm feel being back on the mound five days after his return? Any increase/drop of velocity or crispness in his pitches? If there is a drop in his stuff, will he be able to adapt? Not to mention being back on a big league pitching schedule. That second start will determine if Darvish has truly returned to form or still has more work to do.
If Darvish gets back to his old self, watch out. At 29, he’s entering his prime. Yes, injuries have been an issue throughout his time in Arlington. But the one time he did have a fully healthy season, he finished second in the A.L. Cy Young voting. With a healthy Darvish teaming up with Cole Hamels and Derek Holland, the Rangers starting pitching staff becomes dangerously filthy. I’d put that up against anyone in the American League.
By C. James