Darvish Impresses Early in Surprise

We’ve already learned in Rangers’ spring training that Yu Darvish’s English has improved. Even more important, his pitches are also better than ever.

After a colorful, spicy press conference in which he shot down the notion that he quit on his team last year, the Rangers’ ace went out and dazzled in a scoreless inning of an intrasquad game.

On only 13 pitches he induced a ground ball by Antoan Richardson and then struck out Rougned Odor and Michael Choice.

His velocity was there, evidenced by a 94 mph fastball. So was his trademark variety, in the form of a 62 mph curve that struck out Choice.

After going 10-7 with a 3.06 ERA last year, Darvish missed the last month with elbow soreness. His return to form is No. 1 on the Rangers’ wish list this year, even ahead of Prince Fielder’s health.

Without Darvish the Rangers will not improve on last year’s 77 wins. If his first spring stint was any indication, he’s already ready for Opening Day.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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