Texas Rangers

Next step for Rangers’ Darvish could be rehab start

Rangers' Yu Darvish throws a simulated game

Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish threw three innings Wednesday in a simulated game at Yankee Stadium. Here's a handful of pitches (video by Jeff Wilson).
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Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish threw three innings Wednesday in a simulated game at Yankee Stadium. Here's a handful of pitches (video by Jeff Wilson).

Yu Darvish said that his right shoulder felt fine Wednesday after throwing 46 pitches over three innings in a simulated game, but he will need at least one more outing before the Texas Rangers consider activating him from the disabled list.

Pitching coach Doug Brocail said that Darvish will either throw another simulated game or make a rehab start, depending on how the right-hander feels Thursday. Darvish has been on the disabled list since June 13, retroactive to June 9, because of shoulder tightness following his third start of the season.

Darvish missed all of 2015 and the first two months of this season while recovering from Tommy John surgery in March 2015.

“At the beginning, it had been awhile since I faced hitters, so it was different,” said Darvish, who was injured June 8 in a start against Houston. “Later I felt really good.”

Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish, on the disabled list with shoulder tightness, was pleased with how he threw Wednesday in a simulated game (video by Jeff Wilson).

Brocail said that Darvish was feeling out his new mechanics in the first inning but started to unwind a little more over the final two. Infielder Jurickson Profar connected for a home run to right field, but otherwise Darvish wasn’t hit hard.

He’s healthy. That’s the main thing, that he’s healthy. I’m not going to talk about moving forward because the most important day wasn’t today. It’s [Thursday], seeing how he feels.

Rangers pitching coach Doug Brocail on Yu Darvish

Darvish said that his mechanical tweaks, designed to take stress off his shoulder and neck, started to click earlier this week and that he was able to repeat them as he faced Profar and Ryan Rua.

“I didn’t drastically change my mechanics,” Darvish said. “Just minor. A few days ago, I found it, and it felt pretty good today.”

Brocail and manager Jeff Banister were pleased with how the day went for Darvish.

Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar took Yu Darvish deep Wednesday in a simulated game, earning a bow of respect from the right-hander (video by Jeff Wilson).

“He’s healthy. That’s the main thing, that he’s healthy,” Brocail said. “I’m not going to talk about moving forward because the most important day wasn’t today. It’s tomorrow, seeing how he feels. If he feels good, then we can sit down and see what he wants.”

Said Bryan Holaday, who caught all three innings: “He threw the ball well. He was spinning the ball really good. It was coming out of his hand really good, especially those last couple times.”

Rangers pitching coach Doug Brocail liked how Yu Darvish looked Wednesday but is holding off to see how Darvish feels Thursday before planning the next step (video by Jeff Wilson).

Griffin feels strong

Right-hander A.J. Griffin threw 91 pitches in 4  1/3 innings Saturday in his first start off the disabled list and said that the outing completed the buildup of arm strength after missing six weeks.

He admitted to feeling some fatigue against the Boston Red Sox, but it was caused as much by long innings and stressful pitches as it was inactivity. His goal for Thursday in the series finale against the New York Yankees is to be more efficient with his pitches.

“Just build on maintaining a good delivery and repeating my pitches, and being strong and able to go after everyone and get ahead of batters,” Griffin said.

Continuing the Rangers’ success — they have the most wins in MLB — is also a goal for Griffin. He said that watching the team creates motivation.

“It’s pretty awesome to come to the field and you feel like you’re part of something,” Griffin said. “You prepare and get ready to go out there every time it’s your day and help the team win. Watching these guys go out there and play every day and work their butts off makes you want to go out and work hard and be a part of that.”

Hamels gets break

Banister said that he was planning to remove left-hander Cole Hamels after only 86 pitches in seven innings Tuesday night before the Rangers scored five times in the eighth for a 7-0 lead.

The goal was to preserve Hamels for the short term and in the long run. Hamels will pitch twice more before the All-Star break on normal rest, and he is on pace to throw more than 200 innings for a seventh straight season.

Left-hander Cole Hamels has the look of an All-Star this year, but said his teammates are making him look good (video by Jeff Wilson).

The Rangers look like they will be needing him in the postseason again, too.

“We felt like he had gotten us where we needed to get to,” Banister said. “The benefit is we need him as strong as we can possibly have him throughout the season and down the stretch.”

Briefly

▪ The Rangers are planning to give Chi Chi Gonzalez a second start Saturday at Minnesota after he allowed five runs on 10 singles in five innings Monday night in his 2016 debut.

▪ The Rangers acquired lefty Eric Surkamp on waiver claim from Oakland and assigned him to Triple A Round Rock, where he will work as a starter. Outfielder Drew Stubbs (toe) was placed on the 40-man roster.

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