Taking anything substantive from spring training games is an exercise in futility, for many reasons. Taking anything from practice is even worse. Still, with Yu Darvish's transition to America, little bits and pieces (small sample alert) might be of interest to some.
Friday, Darvish faced All-Star teammates Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre. The results overall were good, but there were some issues. Via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Darvish threw 21 pitches, 11 for strikes and retired three of the four hitters he faced, with the lone exception a walk on five pitches to Hamilton. Darvish also fell behind the first three hitters, and twice was behind 3-0.The Star Telegram also reports that Darvish's fastball hit 96 while his curve was as slow as 66. The players who hit against him seemed to think his stuff was really good.
Kinsler popped to left field on a 3-2 slider, and Andrus followed and became Darvish's only strikeout of the inning. Hamilton walked on five pitches, and Darvish dominated Beltre, who hit a roller to second base.
"The ball moved tremendously," Hamilton said (Star-Telegram.com). "Overall, he looked great. He looks very confident on the mound, and that will continue to grow the more games we get into."
I'd say overall this is good news for the Rangers. Command is an issue, but it's March 3. That can get better as the season approaches. Stuff is what matters now, and Darvish has it. Of course, let's reiterate it's March 3 and this couldn't have been a smaller sample size.
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