Darvish sharp in final exhibition tuneup

ARLINGTON, Texas — Texas right-hander Yu Darvish said he was ready for the season to begin following his last spring start in Arizona.

He did nothing Thursday to change his thoughts.

If anything, Darvish has more confidence in his game following his first start in Arlington.

Darvish pitched four innings of one-hit ball in a 12-1 throttling of the Mexico City Red Devils, a Triple A team in the Mexican League.

While the quality of the opponent wasn’t anything like what Darvish will face against major leaguers, the stuff he had Thursday will work at any level. Darvish needed just 52 pitches to get through four innings and threw 42 for strikes. He struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter. The Red Devils didn’t get a ball out of the infield until there were two outs in the third inning.

“The pitching sequence I used in the game was pretty much similar to what I’ll be using in the regular season,” said Darvish, whose first start comes Tuesday against Houston. “I felt really comfortable out there today. And I had really good control.”

Darvish thinks one of the biggest benefits Thursday was pitching in Arlington. He didn’t have that luxury before last season.

“I felt very good throwing today compared to what I did in Arizona,” he said. “Compared to last year where I am right now, I feel very relaxed. I’m glad I was able to do that, to pitch here, before the season started.”

Darvish had plenty of support as the Rangers scored runs in each of the first three innings and then blew the game open with six runs in the fifth inning.

Thursday’s game marked the debut of Rangers Ballpark with the new configuration behind home plate. There’s now an open-air area that could lessen the impact of the jetstream at the ballpark. It had no impact on the Texas bats though as Ian Kinsler, David Murphy, Mitch Moreland and Nelson Cruz each had home runs.