Yu Darvish threw 34 pitches during live batting practice today, a 10-minute session in which he said he threw at 120 percent effort and felt better about than any of the three he has thrown this spring. Double A pitching coach Jeff Andrews, who was stationed on Darvish's field, said that might not be too far off by the way a couple fastballs took off up in the zone.
The buzzword was movement. Late and lots of it. Darvish kept the hitters, all minor-leaguers, he faced off-balance. In one sequence to Mike Bianucci, Darivsh threw a slider with side-to-side movement and came back with a curveball that broke from 1 o'clock to 7 o'clock. Manager Ron Washington counted five pitches (four-seamer, two-seamer, split, slider, curveball), and Darvish said he threw his changeup some as well.
Speaking of changeups, Neftali Feliz worked on his during live BP to a much higher class of hitters. He got Josh Hamilton to swing and miss two changeups, but David Murphy swatted one down and in for a homer. Mike Maddux and Washington were pleased with Feliz's work.
The Rangers announced their pitching rotation for the first five games: Colby Lewis on Sunday, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Darvish and Feliz. Darvish's first start will be March 7 vs. San Diego at Peoria. Just head due east on Bell Road. Washington said that this is not an indication of what the rotation wil look like on Opening Day. The Rangers would prefer to split up left-handers Holland and Harrison.
The Rangers might not take the field until after noon Tuesday because of a union meeting that has been scheduled for 10 a.m.
-- Jeff Wilson