Yu Darvish is getting closer and closer to returning to a big-league mound.
After delaying his first rehab start to opt instead for another extended bullpen session against live hitters, or a simulated game, to work on his off-speed stuff, Darvish took the hill at Globe Life Park on Tuesday afternoon and faced three Rangers — Ryan Rua, Hanser Alberto and Brett Nicholas — in live game situations.
Darvish reportedly looked good, but once again struggled with locating his secondary stuff. However, that's entirely common for a player returning from Tommy John surgery or any other extended absence from throwing. The feel for those pitches is usually the last thing to return.
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"That's typically the last thing to show up," Jeff Banister told The Dallas Morning News. "I'm sure he didn't land all the secondary stuff the way he wanted to."
So will the plan stick? The Rangers and Darvish will decide on Wednesday what to do next to see how Darvish feels the day after his three innings of work, but it seems probable he'll make his first rehab start for Frisco on Sunday or Monday.