ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have their Opening Day starter. Manager Ron Washington said at FanFest on Saturday it will be Yu Darvish.
"I think it's obvious," Washington said. "It's Darvish if he stays healthy."
Darvish would indeed seem to be the obvious choice after going 13-9 with a 2.83 ERA and 277 strikeouts in 32 starts and 209 2/3 innings. He finished second in the Cy Young voting to Max Scherzer of the Tigers and was the Rangers' Pitcher of the Year.
Darvish did not attend the Rangers Awards Dinner on Friday night and is not at FanFest this weekend. He remains in Japan and has begun his throwing program. Darvish is expected to be at full strength in Spring Training even though he finished last season with nerve irritation in his lower back that bothered him for most of September.
Darvish will be the fifth different Opening Day starter for the Rangers in the past five years. Kevin Millwood started four straight Opening Days for the Rangers in 2006-09. Since then, it has been Scott Feldman in 2010, C.J. Wilson in 2011, Colby Lewis in 2012 and Matt Harrison in 2013.
The Rangers open the season at 1:05 p.m. CT March 31 against the Phillies at the Ballpark in Arlington.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.