"I felt a very mild strain in my neck and that caused the 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.
Darvish's next start is scheduled for Saturday against the Reds in Goodyear. There was no word on whether he will pitch that game or do his work in a Minor League game. Darvish has had a smooth spring up to this point. He has pitched in three games, allowing one run on five hits, two walks and 10 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings.
"If it was the season, he would have pitched," manager Ron Washington said before the Rangers defeated the Royals, 8-2. "But it doesn't make sense, while we're down here, to go out and make the issue more than what it is.
"I don't think it's a setback at all."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.