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Darvish’s Health Dominates Opening Day Discussion

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Darvish signs autographs prior to Monday's home opener (Credit: CBSDFW.com)

Darvish signs autographs prior to Monday’s home opener (Credit: CBSDFW.com)

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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Yu Darvish isn’t on the Texas Rangers’ Opening Day roster, but questions surrounding his health dominated the clubhouse discussion prior to Monday’s season opener in Arlington.

General Manager Jon Daniels says the team plans to sit down and develop a plan for the team’s ace following Monday’s game.

“Reports have been real, real positive to this point,” said Daniels. “Let us sit down together before we decide on the next steps. It shouldn’t take long based on how he looks and feels, but we’re not going to lock into a date — we’re going to take it step-by-step.”

The 27-year-old has been suffering from a stiff neck since sleeping on it wrong, though an MRI revealed no structural damage in his neck.

He has been placed on the DL to start the season and isn’t eligible to return to the team until Saturday, when rookie starter Nick Martinez is scheduled to take the mound.

Darvish is expected to throw again on Tuesday, though it’s undecided as to what type of action he will see.

Daniels doesn’t believe that Darvish needs ‘game-action’ to prepare for a return to the starting rotation.

“He hasn’t been in a game in two weeks, so I think at minimum he needs an extended bullpen,” said Daniels. “He’s a little bit of a different guy. He knows his body; he knows how he’s feeling.”

Though Daniels declined to speculate, it’s not out of the question that Darvish could be ready to go as early as Sunday, when Texas visits Tampa Bay.

“He’s going to end up missing one start at a minimum and we just want to keep that number down. We don’t want a recurring issue later in the year. That’s probably the biggest priority right now.”

Colby Lewis Close To Returning?

Colby Lewis, who is still recovering from hip surgery, was assigned to AAA-Round Rock to begin the season — but his absence from Arlington could be very temporary.

Lewis is scheduled to start on Tuesday in an exhibition against Frisco.

“He starts tomorrow, then we’ll decide whether he’s going to make a start on the 6th in Round Rock or potentially activate him instead of that,” said Daniels. “We’ll see how he does tomorrow, then make a call.”

That means the 34-year-old Lewis could rejoin the club as early Sunday in Boston.

Lewis hasn’t pitched for the Rangers since July 18, 2012, when he received a no-decision after yielding one earned run in five innings in Oakland.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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