When speaking of the Texas Rangers' prospects for 2016, one central theme usually comes to the forefront — how will Yu Darvish bounce back from Tommy John surgery?
It's a pretty key point in whether the Rangers will be contenders in the AL West and the AL, for that matter, next season after a surprising run to the AL West title in 2015 despite the fact Darvish never threw a regular-season pitch for the club.
Earlier this week while speaking to 105.3 The Fan, Rangers' GM Jon Daniels had some insight on Darvish's rehab process with the hope the ace will be able to return to a big-league mound some time in May.
"Well, he is going to continue his rehab here for a couple weeks. He goes back to Japan for a few weeks until the new year and then he comes back and he will continue his rehab. Kinda getting into game action more toward the end of spring training with eye on early-to-middle-of-May big league return. May 10, May 15, somewhere in there. Knock on wood, we've had good fortune, good results with our guys coming back from Tommy John."
The most recent Tommy John return has come from Martin Perez, who missed 14 months before returning over the summer and putting together a pretty solid run. He was great in some starts, and bad in a couple of more but for the most part he was incredibly solid, making him an outlier in the Tommy John rehab world where pitchers usually don't return to solid and stable until the second year back from the procedure.
With what we know about Darvish's physical makeup, it would seem he'd be a good candidate to be a quick healer, and that's what the Rangers are counting on over the winter and spring.