Yu Darvish told he'll start Opening Day

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Yu Darvish has officially been named the Texas Rangers’ Opening Day starter.

It was one of the easiest decisions manager Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux will have to make all spring. Washington hinted at his choice back in January at the club’s Fan Fest, but he called Darvish and interpreter Kenji Nimura into his office Tuesday morning and gave Darvish the news.

“Yu is the kind of guy that doesn’t show a lot of emotion, but he was excited in what he said,” Washington said. “He’s going to work his tail off to make certain he does a good job and represent well.”

Darvish is coming off a runner-up finish in the American League Cy Young balloting after posting a 2.83 ERA in 209 2/3 innings (32 starts) with a league-leading 277 strikeouts.

He is the fifth different Opening Day starter for the club in the last five years. Matt Harrison, who won 18 games in 2012, got the nod ahead of Darvish last year.

Darvish’s first start in 2013 was one of his most memorable, as his perfect-game bid against the Houston Astros was broken up by a single up the middle with two outs in the ninth.

Washington said the move is just another reminder that the 27-year-old Darvish is the rotation leader.

“There’s no doubt that he’s our horse,” Washington said.

Darvish threw one inning in an intrasquad game Monday and said he feels good. Darvish received an injection to deal with lower-back pain right after the season, but said the discomfort dissipated in mid-January.