Yu Darvish has been scratched from his scheduled spring training start Monday night for the Texas Rangers because of stiffness in his neck.
Darvish said in a statement that the move is ''just precautionary'' and that he would have made the start in the regular season.
The Japanese ace said he felt what he called a very mild strain in his neck during a workout Sunday that caused the stiffness.
''It's not a setback at all,'' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ''In the season, he would have pitched, and you wouldn't have known anything about it. But it doesn't make any sense if he's feeling something down here.''
In his first three appearances this spring for the Rangers, Darvish has allowed only one run with 10 strikeouts in 8 2-3 innings.
Derek Lowe, who agreed to a minor-league deal with Texas two weeks ago, was set to start in Darvish's spot against Kansas City.