Tests determined that Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish has no structural damage in his neck, but he will begin the season on the disabled list.
Darvish was scratched from a spring training start last week when he developed a stiff neck. He believed it came from sleeping in an awkward position. Recent tests confirmed that there are no serious medical issues.
The 27-year-old right-hander was slated to start the Rangers' opener against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday before the neck problem surfaced. Right-hander Tanner Scheppers, who was 6-2 in 76 games out of the bullpen last year, will start in Darvish's place.
The plan is for Darvish to play catch Saturday and then start a rehab program.
Despite pitching last season with a nerve problem that affected his lower back, Darvish finished with a 13-9 record, 2.83 ERA and 277 strikeouts in 209 2/3 innings covering 32 starts. He was second in the American League Cy Young Award voting.
Injuries have hit the Rangers hard this spring. Among the casualties are pitcher Derek Holland (knee), second baseman Jurickson Profar (shoulder) and catcher and Geovany Soto (foot).
To boost their depth, the Rangers acquired infielder Donnie Murphy off waivers on Wednesday from the Chicago Cubs and also signed former Cubs right-hander Scott Baker to a reported minor-league contract, pending a physical. Texas also released right-hander Tommy Hanson, who had a 6.43 spring ERA in 14 innings and was due a $2 million bonus if he made the Opening Day roster.
The 31-year-old Murphy hit .255 with the Cubs in 46 games last year.