Texas Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish on Tuesday was officially scratched from his opening day start against the Phillies with a stiff neck.
The Rangers' ace is headed back to Texas for further examination.
"If I felt right, I would continue to throw," Darvish told MLB.com. "But I didn't, so I stopped throwing."
"He has not shown the progress that we would like," Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine added. "We want to start ruling out things at this point. At this stage we're open to it being more than just sleeping wrong."
The Rangers did not announce Darvish's replacement. Jim Salisbury reported Monday that Texas is considering promising young lefty Martin Perez and right-hander Colby Lewis (see story).
This is a huge break for the Phillies, who have struggled at the plate in spring training. Darvish has no-hit stuff every time he takes the mound, and last season led the majors with 277 strikeouts and a swinging strike rate of 12.6 percent.
A rash of injuries has hit the Rangers, who were active this offseason after missing the playoffs in 2013. Starting pitchers Derek Holland and Matt Harrison will begin the year on the DL, as will starting catcher Geovany Soto and second baseman Jurickson Profar. However, Texas still boasts a powerful lineup with Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre and Alex Rios.
The Phillies open the season in Arlington, Tx on Monday at 2:05 p.m. The final two games of the series are Tuesday and Wednesday at 8:05 p.m.
Cliff Lee will pitch the season opener for the Phils, followed by A.J. Burnett and Kyle Kendrick.