Yu Darvish dominant for Texas Rangers as first start closes in

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 04, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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FRISCO -- The time for fine-tuning and building arm strength for the regular season came to an end Wednesday afternoon for Yu Darvish.

He tossed four scoreless innings as the Texas Rangers rolled to a 6-1 victory over Double A Frisco. Darvish needed only a reasonable 60 pitches and allowed only two soft singles and two walks at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Next up for Darvish is his major league debut Monday against Seattle at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The anticipation will build and build, especially with Ichiro Suzuki in the Mariners' lineup and with the game expected to approach sellout status.

The right-hander said that he will try to treat the game like it won't be his first rodeo, even though it will be. The Rangers, though, have no concerns about how he will perform next week or throughout the season.

They saw a pitcher who improved throughout the spring, including Wednesday against Double A batters, and handled all the attention as no big deal.

They are convinced that Darvish is the real deal.

"The guy came over here with a lot of hoopla, and the first couple outings were rough," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "What we saw today and what we're going to see Monday is the real deal."

Maddux calls Darvish's two-seam fastball a "turbo sinker" and believes it can be one of the best in the game. Darvish threw five pitches for a strike Monday, changed speeds effectively and located his fastball, something that was an issue early in camp.

The thing that impressed Maddux the most, though, was the pitch sequences Darvish put together while striking out five and preventing a single hard-hit ball.

"There were some guys he sequenced where it was more than they could handle," Maddux said.

"I don't think it was the level. I think that will play at any level."

Darvish was satisfied with the outing as well. He was also comfortable throwing in more humid conditions than in Arizona, though not nearly as humid as he was anticipating.

The challenges going forward -- heat, travel, pitching on four days' rest -- will be answered as the season unwinds. For now, there are no questions, not even the big event of his first career start.

"I feel very good about where I am right now," Darvish said. "Even when I was in Japan, I didn't get overly excited about Opening Day and the first start of the season. The way I feel right now is I'm going to prepare the next four days just like I've been preparing for other starts."

Manager Ron Washington has raved about Darvish being the Rangers' No. 4 starter. It's a spot Washington believes will allow Darvish to find his footing in the majors before perhaps moving into one of the first three spots.

And, based on his spring track record, there is little doubt that Darvish will succeed in his first big-league season.

"He did exactly what you're supposed to do in spring training: each time you take the ball, get better," Washington said. "He's completely ready for anyone. The Mariners are the first challenge. I don't think he's going to be fazed by it. He's a big-league pitcher. He may have just pitched in Japan, but he's a big-league pitcher."

Yu's spring

A look at how Yu Darvish fared this spring:

Date

Opp.

IP

H

ER

HR

BB

K

NP

M7

Padres

2.0

2

0

0

0

3

36

M13

Indians

3.0

3

2

0

4

3

61

M19

Brewers

4.0

1

1

0

3

4

70

M30

Rockies

6.0

6

3

1

1

11

98

A4

Frisco (AA)

4.0

2

0

0

2

5

60

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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