Texas Rangers pitching coach Doug Brocail is confident Yu Darvish will soon be forcing a change in his recovery timeline.
Darvish, Brocail said, is still slated to return to the lineup in mid-May, but his progress toward that date could be backloaded with Darvish further along than expected. That’s because his mechanics have required no extra work to get back to his pre-Tommy John surgery form.
“As much as I believe in the timeline, post [operation], when he’s ready to go we can’t just hold him back,” Brocail said Friday morning, a day after Darvish threw his fifth bullpen session off a regular mound. “Pretty soon he’s going to change the timeline and there’s not anything we’re going to be able to do about that. I don’t want him to get bored. I don’t want him to get complacent. He’s moving pretty quick.”
He was throwing a changeup [Thursday] that looked like he never stopped throwing the changeup. He spins the ball like nobody I’ve ever seen. [Back when I was a coach with Astros] I didn’t realize how good his stuff was.
Rangers pitching coach Doug Brocail
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It doesn’t mean Darvish will return sooner than the mid-May to early June expectation, Brocail said. It does mean that Darvish’s pitch count, which should jump to 30 in his next bullpen session (either Saturday or Sunday) could rise quicker than typical, which could allow him to face hitters for the first time. Brocail wants Darvish to get to 55-pitch sessions before facing batters.
“He’s going to ask for more pitches, he’s going to ask to throw more off-speed and I’m good with that,” Brocail said. “That timeline probably doesn’t change. I’m good with that part of the timeline — mid-May. That’s what has been stated from the very beginning and I’m good with that. This is a guy we’re going to want in a playoff run.”
Darvish is already throwing a full complement of pitches and his velocity continues to rise as he rebuilds the strength in his arm. His flawless mechanics, Brocail said, could enable Darvish to be on a faster track.
“He probably has the best mechanics of anybody I’ve ever seen other than probably Greg Maddux,” Brocail said. “He’s so consistent and repeats so well. Not having to fix anything in his delivery, it’s going to speed things up, I think.”
Soaking it in
Outfield prospect Ryan Cordell, an 11th-round draft pick in 2013, has enjoyed the experience of his first major league spring training. He is nursing a sprained right ankle after landing awkwardly running to first base in Thursday’s game. It aggravated a recent injury when he stepped on a ball while shagging fly balls during batting practice. He’ll be re-evaluated in a couple days.
.316 Batting average this spring for outfield prospect Ryan Cordell, in his first major league camp. He also has three doubles in 19 at-bats.
Cordell has fared well this spring despite being overshadowed by high-profile prospects such as Lewis Brinson and Nomar Mazara. Cordell is hitting .316 with three doubles in 19 at-bats this spring.
“It’s been fun, been good,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed getting out there in some games and experience that and learn from these guys.”
It’s also given him valuable time in front of Rangers manager Jeff Banister and his staff.
“That’s a big part of it, them getting to know who I am, the way I play, the way I go about my business,” he said. “And then being around these [players] and seeing how they do things.”
▪ Right-hander Anthony Ranaudo was scratched from Friday’s game in Peoria with minor back spasms and is day-to-day.
▪ Right-fielder Shin-Soo Choo (back stiffness) is scheduled to play in Saturday’s game in Scottsdale.
▪ Ike Davis (mild right knee sprain) is doing lateral field work and base running and remains listed as day-to-day.
▪ Closer Shawn Tolleson (lower back spasms) allowed one hit in a scoreless inning Thursday night, his first appearance this spring. He has been medically cleared.