La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Twins-Rangers: Darvish scratched from tonight's start with stiff neck

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: May 27, 2014 - 5:01 PM


Yu Darvish has been scratched from tonight's start against the Twins with a stiff neck. He woke up with soreness and it apparently hasn't gotten any better, despite treatment. Darvish will have a MRI exam today.

The Rangers have not announced a replacement starter yet, but it could be former Twin Scott Baker.

Way to go, Minneapolis hotel pillows.

Well, there goes tonight's pitcher's duel tonight between Phil Hughes and Darvish. Hughes has been one of the pitching surprises in the league so far this season. He's known for tinkering with his pitching options. He'll add a slider and drop the curve. He'll junk the slider and throw more change ups. This time, it looks like he's found something that works for him.

Hughes is throwing a cut fastball 23.7 percent of the time. He's never thrown it more than 16 percent of the time coming into this season. He's pretty much backed off his curveball because of it.

Twins outfielders worked on throws to the infield before the game. Let's see if that has an impact tonight.

Chris Parmelee is in left field, with Josh Willingham the designated hitter. In addition to being a better outfielder, Parmelee can move to first if something happens to Joe Mauer.

There is a strong breeze blowing in from left field. With the way Target Field works, that means it's going to shoot out to right. That's just how the wind travels here. The flags in left are pointing right at me, while the flags in right are pointing toward First Ave.

Yes, Scott Baker is starting for Yu Darvish. It's been a long road back for Baker, 32, who has had trouble getting his career back on track since having Tommy John surgery in April of 2012. He signed with the Cubs while he recovered and made three starts late in the 2013 season. He signed a minor league deal with Seattle but was cut on March 25. He signed with Texas three days later and sent to Class AAA Round Rock, where he was 4-1 with a 3.32 ERA. This is his second stint with Texas this season.

Rangers (26-25)

Shin-Soo Choo, LF
Elvis Andrus, SS
Mitch Morleand, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Alex Rios, RF
Chris Gimenez, C
Leonys Martin, CF
Donnie Murphy, DH
Rougned Odor, 2B

Scott Baker, RHP

Twins (23-25)

Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Oswaldo Arcia, RF
Josh Willingham, DH
Chris Parmelee, LF
Kurt Suzuki, C
Eduardo Escobar, SS
Aaron Hicks, CF

Phil Hughes, RHP

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