Darvish, 34, was obtained from the Chicago Cubs along with catcher Victor Caratini on Dec. 29 in exchange for Zach Davies and four prospects. Darvish finished second in National League Cy Young Award voting for 2020 after going 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA.
Left-hander Blake Snell, obtained from Tampa Bay on Dec. 29, is scheduled to follow Darvish in the rotation. He won the 2018 American League Cy Young Award.
Tingler said right-hander Dinelson Lamet would have been in the mix for Opening Day starter if he had gotten more work this spring. The Padres were cautious with Lamet because of an elbow injury that forced him out of his final regular-season start in 2020 and caused him to miss both the wild-card-round victory against St. Louis and the division series loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Lamet pitched one inning in his spring debut Wednesday night.
"Honestly, it was a really hard decision," Tingler said. "What would have made it even more incredibly tough would be if Lamet was built up as well, because I certainly think there's a strong case for him to take the ball Day 1. At the end of the day, I don't think you could go wrong. Could have went either way.
"With Darvish, you look at the last three years, and Snell's, they're very similar. I also like the fact, too, going righty-lefty and there will probably be a righty or two behind them as well."
The rest of the rotation is expected to be right-hander Joe Musgrove, obtained in a January trade with Pittsburgh; right-hander Chris Paddack, San Diego's 2020 Opening Day starter; and perhaps left-hander Adrian Morejon.