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March 19, 2012

Wrapping up Yu Darvish's third Cactus League start, as Rangers fall 5-3 to Brewers

Yu Darvish pitched well, impressing reigning National League MVP Ryan Braun. Darvish gave up one run over four innings in what became a 5-3 loss to the Brewers on Monday afternoon at Surprise Stadium.

Manager Ron Washington liked what he saw from Darvish, who had better command of his fastball than his previous Cactus League start. Darvish will make his next start on Sunday in an intrasquad game.

Here's what Braun had to say about facing Darvish:

Initial thoughts on Darvish: I thought he looked really good, kept the ball down in the zone, threw a bunch of different pitches, pretty consistently getting ahead of hitters, good velocity. He has kind of a different arm angle and he has the pause so it kind of messes up your timing as a hitter.

Does he understand the Darvish buzz? "Yeah, absolutely. He looks like a pitcher. He’s big, he’s tall, he throws downhill, he definitely is a presence on the mound and he’s certainly going to help his team out and it’ll be a lot of fun for us to watch."

Here are a few other notes:

* The Rangers sent seven pitchers back to minor league camp, including left-hander Martin Perez and right-hander Neil Ramirez. Ron Washington felt both pitchers were "antsy" in their outings, and went on to say that the team needed to divvy up the innings between pitchers competing for major league spots at this point in spring training. Jake Brigham, Miguel De Los Santos, Justin Miller, Cody Eppley and Roman Mendez were also sent down.

* Closer Joe Nathan didn't have his best outing. He gave up three runs on three hits with one walk and one strikeout. Washington isn't concerned about Nathan, though, saying he looked forward to handing him the ball in the ninth inning when the regular season begins.

* Mike Napoli made his first start at catcher since March 10, going 0 for 1 and drawing a walk. Napoli is expected to DH on Tuesday, and then catch consecutive days on Wednesday and Thursday.

* Left-hander Joe Beimel threw a scoreless inning in his appearance.

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