Texas Rangers

Guthrie, Griffin not behind in race for Rangers rotation

Yu Darvish throws another bullpen session

Rangers righty Yu Darvish continued on his road back from Tommy John surgery Friday with another bullpen session (video by Jeff Wilson).
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Rangers righty Yu Darvish continued on his road back from Tommy John surgery Friday with another bullpen session (video by Jeff Wilson).

Jeremy Guthrie made his second appearance of the spring Friday afternoon at Maryvale Ballpark, and pitched well after surrendering a no-doubt leadoff homer to Domingo Santiago.

A.J. Griffin is up to two Cactus League appearance, too, after allowing one run in two innings Thursday.

Neither right-hander needs to worry about playing catch-up after being held out of early games with concerns about their health. There’s still enough time left in spring training to win the last spot in the rotation, though Griffin’s recent arm woes could be difficult for him to overcome.

“He’s not behind in the sense of where he’s at this spring,” manager Jeff Banister said. “Guthrie is a veteran guy. He knows himself, so he’s going to be able to get ready.”

Griffin, who had Tommy John surgery in 2014 and dealt with a shoulder issue in 2015, said that he is still getting a feel for pitching again, though the results show someone who is well on his way back.

Despite throwing only 14 1/3 innings the past two seasons, he said he still has time to be ready enough for the Opening Day rotation.

“We’re getting dialed in,” Griffin said. “Just build it up, and I’ll be ready to go.”

Guthrie was slowed by back spasms shortly after signing a minor-league deal last month, but has no concerns about being behind. He’s a start behind at most, and there are ways to manipulate the schedule for him to catch up.

“I’m in the physical shape that I prepared and wanted to be in at the start of camp,” said Guthrie, who allowed just the homer in two innings. “I feel like I do most springs. I feel very good, strong and healthy. It’s a matter of pitching well.”

Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie might be a start behind this spring but says there's enough time left to catch up (video by Jeff Wilson).

Tolleson ready to go

Closer Shawn Tolleson, who has been sidelined because of back spasms, is scheduled to throw live batting practice Saturday after initially being slated for a B game against the Chicago White Sox along with fellow right-hander Colby Lewis and left-hander Sam Freeman.

Tolleson threw a bullpen session Thursday and went through a normal workout Friday. He said that his back has shown steady improvement since it was bothered during pitchers’ fielding practice March 3.

“It’s just gotten better every day,” Tolleson said.

Tolleson also doesn’t feel as if he is behind schedule in getting ready for the regular season. He logged only four innings last spring as he dealt with forearm tightness, yet saved 35 games and made 73 appearances.

“I don’t feel too behind,” Tolleson said. “I actually feel really, really good arm-wise and my stuff and my pitches and location. I guess I’m just more focused on keeping this back feeling good.”

Right-hander Luke Jackson hopes to be throwing bullpen sessions next week after two weeks down because of a stress reaction in his lower back. He threw a light bullpen session Thursday, did some dry mound work Friday and hopes to throw off flat ground Saturday.

First baseman Ike Davis will be out a few days as he is fitted for a brace for his mildly sprained right knee.

More work for Darvish

Right-hander Yu Darvish continued his road back from Tommy John surgery with his 10th bullpen session, a 25-pitch effort again with the catcher at his normal spot behind the plate.

Darvish said that he is still three weeks away from throwing live batting practice, though his bullpen sessions should ramp up in intensity. He isn’t likely to make a rehab start until next month.