Yu Darvish was in a cast but in good spirits Sunday morning while talking to the media for the first time since his Tommy John surgery.
The Rangers ace returned to camp on Friday, but hadn’t talked publicly since having season-ending surgery on his right throwing arm Tuesday in Florida.
“The surgery went very well and the doctor told me that everything that needs to be done has been done,” Darvish said. “Personally, I’m feeling great right now. I’d like to take this year to come back strong.”
Darvish was happy to be back in the clubhouse with his teammates. He chose to continue his rehab near his teammates in Arizona instead of in Arlington which was suggested by the club.
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“I thought being with my teammates here it would be positive for me,” he said.
Darvish is expected back in April or May 2016. He plans to dress out and take part of the team’s Opening Day ceremonies. Darvish left his first spring start on March 5 after only 12 pitches because of tightness in his right triceps.
His rehab program doesn’t consist of much at the moment. Darvish is able to take the cast off and clean his arm each day. He’s still trying to get used to it, especially in bed. The removable cast keeps his arm at a right angle at the elbow. He wakes up every two hours in the middle of the night because it’s uncomfortable.
“Of course, it’s inconvenient,” he said. “I have trouble sleeping, but my girlfriend is able to be there and help me in that aspect, as well.”
Darvish made light of the accusations by some that he quit on the Rangers last August when he was shut down because of inflammation in his arm.
“Last year a lot of people doubted that I quit the team,” Darvish said, holding up his cast, “but with this I can prove I’d never quit the team.”
He also played along with a reporters assertion that he could become a left-handed reliever for the club while his right arm recovers. Darvish and left-hander Martin Perez both can throw quite accurately with their opposite arm.
“I think I can be a crafty left-handed pitcher,” he said.
Jocularity has been in the air around Darvish lately. Before his surgery Tuesday morning, Dr. James Andrews and his staff pranked him. They told Darvish he wasn’t getting anesthesia for the hour and a half procedure.
“By the time I noticed it, I was asleep,” he said.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760