Yu Darvish allowed only one earned run on four hits in six innings Friday afternoon in a Triple A game and appears to be headed to his first Opening Day assignment with the Texas Rangers.
Darvish struck out five and walked one while throwing 90 pitches against Los Angeles Dodgers minor-leaguers. He allowed three runs, as a two-out error after he exited allowed two inherited runners to score.
The club has not announced whether Darvish or Cole Hamels will be the starter in the 2017 lid-lifter against the Cleveland Indians, but he will remain on normal rest for his final spring tuneup Wednesday. That’s five days out from the April 3 opener.
Cole Hamels is expected to be the No. 2 starter even though fellow left-hander Martin Perez pitched Friday against the San Diego Padres. Hamels is scheduled to make his final start in Arizona on Sunday.
Darvish said that he is trending the right way in his first start since the birth of his son Sunday.
“I’ve had pretty good spring training, and I’m pretty confident I’m prepared for the season,” Darvish said. “I can’t wait for the season to start.”
The only damage against Darvish was done in the fourth inning, when Dodgers prospect Edwin Rios opened with an opposite-field homer that just got over the left-field wall. Even with that, it was smooth sailing for Darvish as he relied on his two-seam fastball.
“Even when I was behind in the count, I was able to get guys out with my sinker,” Darvish said. “It was a good outing.”
If the Rangers pick Darvish as the Opening Day starter, it would be the first such assignment for him since joining the Rangers from Japan. He was named the Opening Day starter in 2014, but a mid-camp neck injury put him on the disabled list to start the season.