3/24/2014 2:39 P.M. ET
Darvish's Opening Day chances growing slimmer
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The chances of Yu Darvish pitching on Opening Day for the Rangers appear to be diminishing with just one week to go. His problems are just one reason why the Rangers want Joe Saunders in their rotation to start the season.
Darvish played catch for 10 minutes on Monday but is still experiencing stiffness in his neck. The Rangers will re-evaluate him on Tuesday but still aren't sure when he'll get back on the mound. General manager Jon Daniels admitted that Darvish's situation is of "moderate" concern.
"When somebody is not out there, then there is a level of concern," Daniels said.
Daniels said it wouldn't be a big deal to push Darvish's first start back a couple of days into the season.
"The bigger concern is how we make sure he makes 32 to 35 starts," Daniels said.
The Rangers are planning to meet on Monday night to discuss their pitching situation. But it appears likely that Saunders will be in the rotation even though he was dealing with a "dead arm" on Sunday and allowed nine runs in 1 1/3 innings in a start against the Padres.
"He told us he was dealing with a dead arm and that's common," manager Ron Washington said. "He came in a few weeks behind everybody else. Otherwise he would have been through it already."
The Rangers want Saunders because he is an experienced veteran who eats innings. He has averaged 192 innings per season over the past six years. That could be crucial in a rotation that includes Tanner Scheppers, who is switching to the rotation from the bullpen, and Martin Perez, who is entering his first full season as a starter. The rotation could also include Robbie Ross, who would also be switching from the bullpen, or Colby Lewis, who hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2012.
Saunders or Ross could at least be a bridge until Matt Harrison is ready. Harrison, who missed almost all of last season with a herniated disk, pitched three innings on Sunday night in a Minor League game and is scheduled for three more on Friday in San Antonio. He could be ready to rejoin the rotation by mid-April at the earliest.
Rangers review catching options after Arencibia
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers are preparing to start the season with J.P. Arencibia and Robinson Chirinos as their catchers but are finding out there are outside candidates emerging in the final week of Spring Training.
The Yankees have two backup catchers in Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine behind Brian McCann and are looking for bullpen help. The Rangers are willing to talk about left-hander Michael Kirkman because he is out of options. The D-backs have veterans Henry Blanco and Bobby Wilson while the Rangers have talked about Ramon Hernandez, who is in camp with the Royals but unlikely to make the team. Yorvit Torrealba is available, having asked for his release from the Angels camp.
Arencibia and Chirinos will share the position although the Rangers will at least try to add another veteran catcher at Triple-A Round Rock. The Rangers found themselves short with the news that Geovany Soto will miss 10 to 12 weeks with a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee.
"I'm really sad what happened to Geo," Chirinos said. "He is a good friend of mine. You never want a teammate to go through it but it's a big opportunity for me."
"You just do whatever to help the team win," Arencibia said. "I've been in that position for three years, I know the league … you just have to step up. That's all it is."
Profar faces long road back
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Infielder Jurickson Profar was back in camp on Monday as he began the long road to recovery from a torn muscle in his right shoulder. He won't need surgery but is expected to miss 10 to 12 weeks.
"It stinks," Profar said. "I felt like I let my teammates down. I'm going to work hard to get back out there."
Profar had been dealing with tendinitis in his right shoulder, but said he felt 100 percent when he played second base for the first time on March 17. He wasn't out there long. Profar said he hurt the shoulder trying to turn a double play during Friday's game against the Brewers.
"I tried to play through it but the next day it was sore," Profar said. "Sore and weak."
With Profar out, the Rangers brought left-handed-hitting infielder Kensuke Tanaka back from Minor League camp. Tanaka could end up in a platoon with right-handed-hitting Josh Wilson. Tanaka was a regular second baseman in Japan for 13 seasons. Wilson has played in 386 Major League games, including 64 at second as opposed to 229 at shortstop. He turns 33 on Wednesday.
"I'm ready to do whatever they ask me to do," Wilson said. "I don't know what's really going to happen. We still have a couple days left in Spring Training but I'm ready to play."
Perez preps for potential Opening Day start
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Martin Perez threw 102 pitches in a Minor League intrasquad game on Monday in his final outing in Arizona. His next start could come on Opening Day if Yu Darvish is not ready.
"I'm ready for the opportunity," Perez said. "I'll do my job and not put any pressure on myself. I know it's a different day and a lot of fans have high expectations. But when you're focused, you go in and do what you have to do."
Perez went six innings and allowed four runs on nine hits. He walked one and struck out three. He also said he made an adjustment in his delivery and the way he was standing on the mound. He said the adjustment helped.
"I wasn't comfortable with my mechanics," Perez said. "Today I was. I made a pretty good adjustment. Today I had good location on all my pitches and my fastball velocity is up. It's time to go."
• Pitcher Armando Galarraga was among six released from Minor League camp. The others were pitchers Eric Brooks, John Niggli, Britt Robertshaw and John Straka, and outfielder Kalien Sams, who is from the Netherlands.
• The Rangers honored their 2013 Dominican Summer League before Monday's game. That team won the league championship with a 53-18 record in the regular season before winning five of six in the playoffs. The Rangers also honored their Minor League players who were on the Surprise Saguaros that won the Arizona Fall League championship.
• Shortstop Elvis Andrus, on a throwing program for a sore right elbow, is expected to start making throws from his position on Tuesday.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.