ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Yu Darvish is ready for the regular season to begin.
Darvish threw four solid innings in his final tuneup of the preseason and the Texas Rangers hit four home runs to beat the Mexico City Red Devils 12-1 in an exhibition game Thursday night.
Darvish mowed down the Mexican League team, allowing just one hit while striking out seven. The Japanese star threw 42 of 52 pitches for strikes and the only hit he gave up was a blooper by Jesus Lopez in the fourth inning that barely made it out of the infield.
"I felt really comfortable out there today and I had really good control," Darvish said through an interpreter. "I feel very comfortable going into the season. I think I'm ready."
The 26-year-old right-hander, entering his second major league season following an outstanding 16-9 rookie year, completed his preseason with a 2-1 record, a 1.52 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings. Opposing batters hit just .138 off him.
"He was outstanding," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He started the spring off throwing the ball well and did it again tonight, had good zip on his fastball, had nice cutter work and sinker, really pounded the zone."
Washington noted that Darvish, who is expected to start the Rangers' second regular season game Tuesday in Houston, seems a much more confident pitcher heading into his second season than he did when he first came over from Japan a year ago.
"I see a more relaxed Darvish," Washington said. "I think the success he had down the stretch last year, he recognized the things he needed to do to be successful. He's gained some experience. I think he's more aware of what he can do better and he's just going out there and doing it."
Darvish agrees: "I think it is a big difference between last year and this year, I'm more relaxed this time around compared to last year."