Pitching coach Mike Maddux liked what he saw Sunday from Yu Darvish, who allowed four runs in five innings in an intrasquad game against minor-leaguers. But Darivsh also struck out 11 hitters and felt as if he could have gone well beyond his pitch limit of 85. Video by Jeff Wilson.
Right-hander Yu Darvish said that he was pleased with his fourth Cactus League start of the spring -- a five-inning, 85-pitch outing against a collection of Rangers minor-leaguers -- even though he surrendered four runs in the fourth inning.
Darvish, though, struck out 11 hitters, commanded his fastball and had a sharp breaking ball that produced several of the strikeouts. He also felt more comfortable with his delivery, which has been his focus of late.
"I gave up four runs, but overall some of the pitches that I made, I was not unhappy at all with my outing," he said. "I was able to do a lot of things. It was a good day."
Darvish will pitch again Friday against Colorado. He is scheduled to throw six innings or 100 pitches before scaling back in his spring finale, probably April 4 at Frisco. Yorvit Torrealba, who caught all five innings, said that Darvish looks like he's good to go for the regular season.
"I believe he's ready," Torrealba said. "Today was really sharp. We used all of his pitches."
The Texas Rangers get their first look at Albert Pujols in a Los Angeles Angels uniform today, as he's starting at first base and batting third. Here's how the lineups look for today's Cactus League game in Tempe, Ariz.
Texas Rangers: 1. Julio Borbon (CF); 2. Craig Gentry (RF); 3. David Murphy (LF); 4. Mike Napoli (C); 5. Mitch Moreland (1B); 6. Brandon Snyder (3B); 7. Brad Hawpe (DH); 8. Alberto Gonzalez (SS); 9. Luis Hernandez (2B).
Pitchers -- Mark Hamburger, Robbie Ross, Sean Green, Yoshinori Tateyama, Michael Kirkman, Neal Cotts.
Los Angeles Angels: 1. Erick Aybar (SS); 2. Howie Kendrick (2B); 3. Albert Pujols (1B); 4. Torii Hunter (RF); 5. Vernon Wells (LF); 6. Bobby Abreu (DH); 7. Mark Trumbo (3B); 8. Bobby Wilson (C); 9. Peter Bourjos (CF).
Pitchers -- Trevor Bell, Scott Downs, Kevin Jespen, Jason Isringhausen, Daniel Tillman.
Neftali Feliz is expected to start on Tuesday. He threw a 43-pitch bullpen session on Sunday, and reported no problems. The Rangers will have him start Tuesday vs. San Diego in a Cactus League game. Manager Ron Washington addressed the situation during his morning briefing with the media.
Neftali Feliz has thrown a bullpen session this morning and is currently doing conditioning work. He logged 43 pitches and said that he feels good. If Feliz has no soreness, he will start on Tuesday vs. San Diego in a Cactus League game. He is scheduled to throw 65-70 pitches.
If that goes well, he would be in line to start the Cactus League finale next Sunday, where his pitch count would rise to 85 and be at 100 pitches when he makes his first start in the regular season.
Relievers will start working on back-to-back days this week, the final step in getting them ready for the regular season. Closer Joe Nathan said that he will go back-to-back Monday and Tuesday.
Yu Darvish will face a lineup of Triple A and Double A hitters this morning as he pitches an intrasquad game at Surprise Stadium. Included in the lineup are Mike Olt, Leonys Martin and Tommy Mendonca. Yorvit Torrealba was scheduled to catch Darvish.
The Texas Rangers have won one home game at Surprise Stadium this spring, falling yet again on Saturday. The Los Angeles Angels held on for a 3-2 victory over the Rangers, who are now 6-15-1 in the Cactus League.
Spring training records don't matter, of course. And the Rangers are hopeful that the stats don't, either.
Closer Joe Nathan had another rough outing, allowing two runs on three hits over an inning.
"He's my closer," manager Ron Washington said. "Get it out of your system. ... He got the ball a little up today."
Nathan has a 14.40 ERA so far this spring, losing three games.
Here are a few other notes from the game:
* Starter Greg Reynolds continued his strong spring, allowing one run on two hits over five innings. He had no walks and four strikeouts. "He's keeping the ball down," Washington said. "He throws inside, changes speed."
* Reliever Koji Uehara also had a nice outing, throwing a scoreless inning with one strikeout. Uehara used his split-fingered fastball effectively, and took a step in the right direction in what has been a troublesome spring up to this point.
* Brad Hawpe belted his first official home run of the spring, as he had one washed away during a rainout.
* Surprise Stadium was sold out on Saturday. It's the second sellout of the spring.
The Texas Rangers right-hander took a step forward on Saturday, throwing off the mound on a day he was expected only to throw on flat ground. Feliz threw 27 pitches off a mound at about 75-80 percent effort level.
Pitching coach Mike Maddux said Feliz will throw a bullpen session on Sunday, and could make a start on Tuesday.
Feliz left his last start with right shoulder tightness. He had long-toss sessions on Thursday and Friday before getting back on the mound Saturday.
Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington began his morning briefing Saturday talking about outfielder Leonys Martin being optioned to Triple A Round Rock. Martin had been a candidate to start in center field, but the team believes he needs more time in the minor leagues.