Yu Darvish returning to Rangers rotation Saturday

By Michael Dixon

Starting rotation help is on the way for the Texas Rangers. Per Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News, Yu Darvish will be returning from the disabled list this weekend.

The Rangers rotation has been strong this year. With a 4.07 ERA, Texas starters rank ninth in all of baseball. Unfortunately, with the injury to Colby Lewis, the starting rotation lacks much depth beyond Cole Hamels. That will change with the activation of Darvish.

From 2012-2014, Darvish was one of baseball’s best pitchers. He did miss all of 2015 and a good portion of 2016 recovering from Tommy John Surgery, but came back nicely. When he finally did come back in 2016, Darvish picked up right where he left off.

In three 2016 starts, he posted a 2.87 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP. Even better, Darvish struck out 19 batters in 15.2 innings. Unfortunately, that comeback was stalled by a shoulder injury, sending Darvish back to the disabled list.

Pitching on the road against Chicago Cubs on Saturday, Darvish will have to bat. Returning from injury, it’s unlikely that Darvish will do anything other than take pitches. The possible exception would be bunting with men on base.

When he’s pitching, the Rangers should be cautious with Darvish in his first few starts back. Unless he consistently retires hitters early in at-bats, Darvish shouldn’t be expected to go more than about five innings for at least a few starts.