Yu Darvish scratched from start

SURPRISE, Ariz.-- Yu Darvish has been scratched from Monday's start against the Kansas City Royals due to a stiff neck.

Darvish said he felt discomfort in his neck toward the end of a workout yesterday.

"I felt a very mild strain in my neck and that caused stiffness," Darvish said in a statement released by the team. "If this was a regular season game, I would start. However, since it is a spring-training game, this is just precautionary on my part."

Manager Ron Washington said he isn't concerned about Darvish and said he expects him back on the mound soon. Washington will speak with pitching coach Mike Maddux later today to discuss when Darvish will pitch next.

"This isn't a setback at all. It's just precautionary," Washington said. "He's doing what everyone else is doing. He's just not pitching in the game. It's not stopping him from being involved in what we have to do today. He just won't take the ball tonight."

Darvish said he is more relaxed this spring as a result of a far smaller media contingency following him for each start, as well as having a major league spring training under his belt. The results are apparent, as Darvish has looked sharp in his three starts, allowing one run on five hits with 10 strikeouts and two walks in 8 2/3 innings.

Derek Lowe will start in place of Darvish. Lowe was already scheduled to pitch Monday, and will start instead of coming out of the bullpen.

Ron Matejko is a contributor to ESPNDallas.com.