Darvish goes five innings in Rangers' win

March 23, 2013

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) -- 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.