Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 2/26/13
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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

A San Diego storm has turned Petco Park into a lake

Top eight storylines for NFL Scouting Combine

Mike D’Antoni calls out Rockets for being ‘soft’ again

WATCH: Dwight Howard ejected for hanging on rim

Capitals acquire Blues’ Kevin Shattenkirk in bold trade

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Chiefs making ‘strong push’ to make Eric Berry highest-paid safety in NFL

Dana White hints at Conor McGregor's next opponent

Report: Steelers make Brown NFL's highest-paid WR

Report: Chiefs sign Duvernay-Tardif to five-year extension

MLB considering introducing 'stickier' baseballs

Report: Browns have discussed trading No. 12 pick for Garoppolo

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in Major League Baseball

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in MLB

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 20 or more games in a season since 2000

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker