SURPRISE, Ariz. – Yu Darvish is more at ease in his second spring with the Texas Rangers, and he still is throwing hard.
The Japanese ace, who won 16 games last season as a major league rookie, struck out two while retiring all six White Sox he faced in his first spring start. The Sox then scored 11 runs over the next two innings on the way to a 14-8 victory Tuesday.
“His velocity was up, his stuff was just better,” said new Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who faced his former team while catching Darvish. “He threw the ball really well and it was very encouraging to see. We talked in the bullpen and talked before the game about what he wanted to accomplish, and he accomplished everything that he wanted to and needed to.”
Pierzynski, who spent his past eight seasons with the Sox before signing a one-year deal with Texas, previously had worked with the 26-year-old Darvish during an intrasquad game last week and in bullpen sessions.
Nestor Molina and Brian Omogrosso, the first two Sox pitchers, both had two shutout innings. Omogrosso is in the mix for a possible spot in the Sox’s bullpen.
The sox scored six runs in the third off 20-year-old Cody Buckel. The right-hander, the top minor league pitcher in the Rangers’ organization last year, walked five of the seven batters he faced.
Notes: Josh Phegley homered for the Sox in the eighth inning. ... The Sox had a 12-0 lead before Texas scored five times in the fifth on three hits. ... The two teams play again today in Glendale.