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March 02, 2012

Friday Rangers wrap-up: Yu Darvish, Neftali Feliz, Neal Cotts impress

Rangers manager Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux had good things to say about Yu Darvish and Neftali Feliz, newcomers to the Rangers' rotation, but they were especially impressed with left-handed reliever Neal Cotts, who is in minor-league camp.

Darvish got to face four All-Stars in his inning of work, in which he walked Josh Hamilton with two outs, but retired Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre. Darvish fell behind three of the four, which Maddux noted afterward as an area that must be improved, and said that his mechanics weren't as good as they have been. His fastball touched 96 mph on Ball 3 to Hamilton, and he struck out Andrus with a sinker.

In all, Darvish threw 21 pitches/11 strikes, and was in danger of having the inning rolled without getting a third out. Maddux didn't want him to surpass 25 pitches. Darvish will make his Cactus League debut Wednesday vs. San Diego at Peoria.

The most impressive pitch Feliz threw was a full-count slider to Conor Jackson, which produced a swinging strikeout. "He's pitching to get guys out," Maddux said. "I saw four pitches for a strike from him."

Cotts, who hasn't pitched in the majors since 2009, entered late in the game and worked around two hits. He hasn't been moved to big-league camp just yet, but will be available for Cactus League games and possibly upcoming B games. "Here's a guy who hasn't faced a hitter since 2009 and went out there and threw like he's been facing hitters since," Maddux said. "I liked what I saw. We'll see him again."

Lefty Kelvin De La Cruz also pitched a scoreless inning. He was cleared to throw after not experiencing any more tightness in his forearm this morning.

-- Jeff Wilson


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