Rangers’ pitcher Yu Darvish felt “good” with no pain after his first session off a regular mound since having Tommy John surgery last March. Darvish threw 15 pitches to catcher Robinson Chirinos, who crouched on the plate to allow Darvish less strain in his first outing.
I feel like I’m able to throw nice and easy, and throw the ball well. I had no pain, no problem at all.
Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish
The right-hander said it was gratifying that his slow comeback process has so far worked well.
“Of course, that I’m feeling painless right now, and it’s my hope that continues,” he said. “I feel like I’m able to throw nice and easy, and throw the ball well. I had no pain, no problem at all.” he said.
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Darvish threw three half-mound sessions last week, going from 17 to 20 to 25 pitches Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He felt some minor fatigue, pitching coach Doug Brocail said, so he rested an extra day before making his first stint on the a regular mound. The last time Darvish threw off a regular mound was on March 5 his first start of spring training. He left that appearance after just 12 pitches with soreness. He had Tommy John surgery a week later and missed the 2015 season. He’s expected to return to the Rangers rotation in mid-May to early June.
Profar plays pretty
Jurickson Profar played his first game at shortstop in more than two years and it couldn’t have gone any better. Sure, it was just an intrasquad game Monday afternoon, but the 23-year-old former top prospect in the game not only homered off Cole Hamels in his first at-bat, but made solid defensive plays. In the first, he made a diving stop up the middle and got up and threw out Delino DeShields. In the second, he ran down Rougned Odor’s pop up in shallow left field.
I know I’m not going to stay there [at Triple A Round Rock]. At some point I’m going to be playing shortstop somewhere in the big leagues.
Rangers’ Jurickson Profar
“It feels great. It’s just an intrasquad game but it feels good to be out there playing,” Profar said. “I worked very hard those two years I missed. I knew at one point I was going to be back playing.”
Profar flashed a big smile, as did his teammates and coaches after the defensive gems and homer.
“It also gives me a boost to keep working,” he said. “Like I’ve been telling you guys, my arm feels great and I’m ready to play.”
His homer against Hamels in the first inning came on a cut fastball, “but it didn’t cut so I hit it,” he said.
It’s early, heck, the Rangers don’t even play a “real” spring training game until Wednesday, but a a strong spring from Profar could give Rangers a multitude of options. The club has said the plan is for Profar to begin the season with Triple A Round Rock.
“If I have to go there, I’ll go there and play,” he said. “I know I’m not going to stay there. At some point I’m going to be playing shortstop somewhere in the big leagues. So if I go there and I’m just going to do Jurickson Profar.”
Hamels exceeds count
Hamels joked that he’s a “team player all the way” when asked about Profar’s homer down the left-field line.
“I’ve heard really good things about him,” Hamels said. “He’s showing that he’s healthy. He looks pretty healthy to me. He’s an exciting young star. [The pitch] might’ve cut two inches. Not ideal for the type of bat speed.”
Hamels said it was good that his 24-pitch (three hits, one walk, two runs) outing exceeded his allotted pitch count.
“That’s what I want to do. Get a feel,” he said. “Surprisingly, I feel better [at this time in the past]. Now it’s’ just a matter of getting the reps and developing the muscle memory.”
Double A Frisco first baseman Trever Adams has been been suspended 50 games without pay after testing positive for Amphetamine.