The Texas Rangers have a big investment -- some $107 million -- in right-hander Yu Darvish, and they plan to go to extra lengths to protect it.
That's why the club announced that Darvish, up for consideration for the final spot on the AL All-Star roster, will skip his final start of the first half. Instead, left-hander Martin Perez will pitch Friday and lefty Derek Holland will be activated in time to take Darvish's spot on Saturday.
Darvish will find out Thursday if he wins the Final Man vote. He said he plans to go to Kansas City and will be prepared to pitch if he earns the selection.
"Physically, I'm fine," Darvish said in a statement. "Since this is my first year, the front office decided to give me extra rest. I'll accept it and take advantage of it. If I'm selected to the All-Star Game, I should be able to participate."
The Rangers want to be proactive in protecting Darvish, who is tied with left-hander Matt Harrison for the club lead in starts. They figure if he pitched, as scheduled, Saturday and was selected to the All-Star team, he'd essentially have no break.
Darvish would have to endure a significant amount of media obligations, particularly from Japanese media. Add in the possibility of pitching in the game and the media attention that might warrant afterward, and he'd essentially have no physical or mental break.
The tentative plan now would be for Darvish to pitch on the third day after the break if he doesn't pitch in the All-Star Game or on July 17, the first day of a two-day series in Oakland, if he does pitch in the All-Star Game.
"We just want to give him a break," manager Ron Washington said. "This is more looking forward to the second half than anything else. Physically, he's fine. Whatever adjustments he's had to make on the mound, he's made. The only thing we discussed in this is how we can maximize his performance, and that's it."