Rangers 6, Reds 2

Yu Darvish had no problems with his neck while pitching five

innings, an encouraging sign for the Texas Rangers.

Darvish gave up homers to Joey Votto and Todd Frazier but

allowed only one other hit during a 6-2 victory over the Cincinnati

Reds on Saturday. The right-hander had to be scratched from his

scheduled start last Monday because of a stiff neck.

”Overall, I feel good,” he said through a translator. ”I

could have pitched a little bit more.”

Darvish struck out five and walked one. Votto’s homer came on a

breaking pitch and provided more evidence that his surgically

repaired left knee is back to full strength. He didn’t hit a homer

after June 24 last year – surgery for torn cartilage forced him to

miss 48 games and robbed him of his power the rest of the

season.

Votto has three homers this spring.

”I threw him a slow curve,” Darvish said. ”It was good

hitting.”

Darvish was surprised that Frazier’s fly ball made it into the

stands, assuming it would be an out. Rangers manager Ron Washington

thinks Darvish is ready to start the season.

”His fastball had a lot of life on it,” Washington said. ”He

just needs to continue to pitch and stay healthy.”

Elvis Andrus hit a double and a two-run homer for Texas, and

Mitch Moreland homered off Mat Latos. The right-hander left the

game as a precaution in the sixth after Geovany Soto’s liner

deflected off his left foot.

”Moreland is using the whole field,” Washington said. ”He’s

good and healthy now and driving the ball to the opposite field.

When he does that, he is at his best.”

Latos allowed four runs, nine hits and two walks in 5 2-3

innings. He struck out six and gave up two homers. Reds manager

Dusty Baker wasn’t concerned about Latos’ left foot.

”I don’t anticipate anything,” Baker said. ”He pitched pretty

good. He had to keep them in the ballpark because they can really

hit.”

Rangers third baseman Jeff Baker left in the third inning with a

sinus problem.

NOTES: The Rangers reassigned RHP Lisakverto Bonilla, RHP Ben

Rowen and INF Yangervis Solarte to minor league camp. … Texas

released C Konrad Schmidt. The Rangers are down to 39 players,

including eight non-roster players. … Texas signed Yoshinori

Tateyama to a minor league contract. … Reds OF Shin-Soo Choo was

back in the lineup after missing five games with back spasms. …

Cincinnati reliever Alfredo Simon pitched in a minor league game,

his first since rejoining the Reds from the World Baseball Classic.

Simon made one appearance for the Dominican Republic, which won the

championship.