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Daily (Yu) Darvish: Greg Maddux pleased

3/3/2012

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Greg Maddux, hired this offseason as a special assistant to the GM and someone who is helping his brother, pitching coach Mike Maddux, with the pitchers this spring, was impressed by what he saw from Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish on Friday.

Darvish threw 21 pitches (11 strikes) in one inning of work to four batters -- Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre -- in an intrasquad game. He got three outs and walked Hamilton. Darvish's command wasn't perfect, but his fastball had life and he had plenty of movement on his breaking pitches.

"He has good mound presence and threw a good four-seamer, good two-seamer, slider and curve and splitter," Maddux said. "He pitched good."

Maddux, who won four consecutive Cy Young Awards (1992 with the Chicago Cubs and 1993-95 with the Atlanta Braves) and 18 Gold Glove Awards for his defense in his 23 seasons, just wants Darvish to get comfortable and go about progressing toward the regular season.

"We'll let him do the routine everybody else does," Maddux said. "All he needs to do is what the other four starters are doing -- get his innings in, get as comfortable as he can pitching in the states and be one of the five starters."

Maddux liked that Darvish showed confidence in his slider to throw it on a 3-2 count to Kinsler, the first batter he faced Friday.

"That's what big league pitchers do: They can't be afraid to throw off-speed behind in the count," Maddux said. "He's good and he can do that."

The plan for Darvish is to continue his pitcher's fielding practice and throw on the side in preparation for his first Cactus League start, which is Wednesday in Peoria against the San Diego Padres. The first two innings of that game, which Darvish pitches, can be heard on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM starting at 2:05 CT with Eric Nadel and Steve Busby. The rest of the game will be on a webcast on texasrangers.com.

Here's more on Darvish's inning of work on Friday.