Yu Darvish looks strong in first workout

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Pitching coach Mike Maddux only needed one word to answer if Yu Darvish had any problems with his elbow following the Texas Rangers ace's 35-pitch session Saturday during the first workout for pitchers and catchers.

“Zero,” Maddux said.

That one word carries a lot of weight and should also lift any concern of lingering effects from the mild elbow inflammation that sent Darvish to the disables list last August before he was later shut down for the season as a precaution.

“I thought Yu threw very well. I liked what I saw,” Maddux said. “The ball was coming out clean. His command was good. The spin was good. He’s ahead of the field a little bit.”

Maddux kept tabs on Darvish, who has been throwing for a month, so he knew the Rangers ace was in good form entering camp. Despite that knowledge, Maddux admitted he was still curious and eager to see Darvish when he took the hill Saturday at Surprise Recreation Campus.

“Those are both good words,” Maddux said. “I was looking forward to seeing him throw.

A healthy Darvish is vital for the Rangers if they are to rebound from their injury-riddled 67-win season in 2014, and all early indications are that is the case.

Darvish finished 10-7 with a 3.06 ERA and 182 strikeouts in 144 1/3 innings last season.