Found February 26, 2013 on
Fox Sports Southwest:
SURPRISE, Ariz. The Texas Rangers may be winless in Cactus League play, but Tuesday was still a successful day. Yu Darvish picked up where he left off last season in dominating Chicago White Sox hitters in two quick innings of work.
He retired all six hitters he faced, and none of them made solid contact. The fidgety Darvish who showed up last spring in Arizona was nowhere to be found. He fell behind White Sox leadoff hitter DeWayne Wise, 2-0, but worked the count to 2-2 before inducing a lazy fly ball to third base. Darvish was among the American League leaders in walks allowed last season, but he had better command of his pitches while going 5-2 with a 1.78 ERA in his final seven starts.
Darvish attributed his success Tuesday to the White Sox hitters not being 100 percent, which is a far cry from how he handled his postgame news conference last spring. Asked about a double by Padres outfielder Will Venable that nearly knocked down the center-field wall, Darvish responded, "With the dry air in Arizona and the wind blowing out, it carried the ball. It didn't seem like a ball that was hit that squarely."
The comment caused a mild stir because everything Darvish did seemed to have an international impact. And it certainly made an impression on Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux.
"I thought last year, there could've been a dose of overconfidence when he came in here," Maddux said of Darvish. "In a way, that wasn't all bad. But now he's our sophomore veteran, so to speak."
Darvish no longer uses an interpreter to communicate with his teammates, although manager Ron Washington and Maddux still prefer to use one with him. (Washington insists he doesn't use "choice" words with Darvish.)
I overheard Darvish talking to a scout Tuesday using perfect English. And the fact that only about 10 Japanese reporters are monitoring Darvish instead of the 50 from last season seems to have had a calming influence.
"It was a three-ring circus last year, and he was center stage," Maddux said. "He wanted to blend in, but he just couldn't. This year, he's blending in. He's just one of the guys."
Of course, it's never easy for a potential ace to be one of the guys. For the Rangers to have any chance at making a run at the postseason, Darvish needs to eat a lot of innings. Washington doesn't think it's out of the question Darvish could end up with 200-220 innings. And one of the reasons is the Rangers manager doesn't think Darvish will feel as much pressure to show off his full "menu" of pitches. Washington wants Darvish to quickly identify the pitches that are effective on a given day and commit to them.
On Tuesday, he started No. 2 hitter Gordon Beckham with three consecutive fastballs, two of which registered 96 mph. Then Beckham struck out on a wicked 85-mph slider. White Sox slugger Adam Dunn worked the count full on Darvish in the second inning, but Darvish froze him with an 82-mph slider. It was a great sign that Darvish was working off his fastball a lot in his two innings.
It was a welcome sight for a Rangers team that remained winless in Cactus League after five games. Darvish looked effortless in his first outing, and that's a great sign for a team that has a lot of question marks.
It's too early to call Darvish an ace, but he looked a lot like a No. 1 pitcher against the White Sox. And maybe that's the idea when you shell out 112 million for a player.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Former Texas Rangers pitcher Cliff Lee says he, and others, were "baffled" by the way the organization treated third baseman Michael Young in his final years with the team.
Lee and Young are now teammates in Philadelphia. He describes Young as "
WHITE SOX 14, RANGERS 8
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Yu Darvish struck out two while retiring all six White Sox batters he faced Tuesday in his first spring start before Chicago scored 11 runs over the next two innings in a 14-8 win over the Texas Rangers.
Darvish, the Japanese ace who won 16 games as a major league rookie last season, threw his fastball in the mid-90s.
Chicago scored six...
Evan Meek has a nice pitching resume highlighted by an All-Star trip in 2010.
Michael Kirkman showed flashes in relief last year for the Texas Rangers. So did Tanner Scheppers.
The Rangers liked Coty Woods enough to snatch him in the Rule 5 draft. Josh Lindblom pitched in 74 games last year and will forever be remembered by some as the pitcher the Rangers picked up for Michael...
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) -- Lance Berkman is set to make his spring training debut for the Texas Rangers on Thursday.
Berkman has been bothered by a mild right calf strain, and the Rangers have been cautious with the 37-year-old switch-hitter. He played only 32 games with St. Louis last season because of two operations on his right knee and a left calf strain.
While being held out...
If I were running the Texas Rangers, the last thing I would consider doing is to rush Colby Lewis back to have him in the fifth spot in the rotation. The team needs to stay patient and they need to make sure the Elbow is healed and rehabilitated properly. The guy is just getting ready to throw long toss and people are already saying he may be back just after the season opener....
Cliff Lee only made 20 starts for the Texas Rangers between regular season and postseason games, but that's not stopping him from speaking out about Michael Young's final years in Texas. Saying he's "baffled" by the way the Rangers treated his once-again teammate, Lee questioned the decision-making of the Texas front office. "I think that baffled a...
Newly acquired Conor Gillaspie homered off Collin Balester in the sixth inning, helping the Chicago White Sox beat Texas 8-4 Wednesday and drop the Rangers to 0-5 in spring training.
Acquired Friday from San Francisco for minor league pitcher Jeff Soptic, Gillaspie had four RBIs Tuesday aghainst the Rangers.
Paul Konerko hit a two-run homer against left-hander Robbie Ross, and...
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Conor Gillaspie is getting off to a quick spring training start with the Chicago White Sox.
The newly acquired Gillaspie homered off Collin Balester in the sixth inning, helping the White Sox beat Texas 8-4 Wednesday and drop the Rangers to 0-5 in spring training.
Obtained Friday from San Francisco for minor league pitcher Jeff Soptic, Gillaspie had four...
Who: Me (Andrew Martinez) and 13 other folks from around the industry. Our commish is Scott Pianowski who hosted this league last season.
What: 14 Team mixed auction with $260 budget, 5x5 scoring, 162 games cap, 1425 max IP cap, daily, FAAB ($100), with 125 roster move cap.
When: We conducted this auction this past Monday the 25th.
Where: The internets
Why: For virtual...
SURPRISE, Ariz. Once he took Michael Young's job four years ago, Elvis Andrus was smart enough to become his pal. He hung on Young's every word, and he's still trying to get used to him being with another team.
"It's still weird," Andrus told FOXSportsSouthwest.com on Monday. "He was Ranger Man. That's what we called him. I guess it's part...
February 26 game against the Texas Rangers saw the Sox hammer them by a score of 14 – 8. Twelve runs scored over three innings. Starter Nestor Molina and reliever Brian Omogrosso both pitched two scoreless innings, with Josh Phegley getting his first home run of the season. February 27th game also against the Rangers saw the White Sox improve their record [...]