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

Nationals make astute move in acquiring Melancon

Son of former NFL player Antonio Armstrong charged with death of parents

U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions

Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Texans GM 'disappointed' in DeAndre Hopkins

Can Andre Johnson end his regression in Tennessee?

Favre opens up about painkiller addiction during career

Miami women’s basketball coach criticizes Texas A&M following slideshow

Twin Cities preparing for influx of sex trafficking during Super Bowl LII

WATCH: Bautista bat flip will be available as NHL 17 celebration

Former USMNT, current MLS forward Davies battled cancer, in remission

The definitive guide to U.S. Men's Basketball at Rio 2016

Tony Romo training camp picture leads to fat jokes, concern

Matt Cullen’s family eats cereal out of the Stanley Cup

Texas A&M suspends coaches for sexist slideshow

10 most dangerous college football defenders in 2016

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

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

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