The one that seems to be giving him the biggest fit of trouble this spring is how much he should respect major league hitters.
Right now, it might be too much.
Darvish is still getting used to using the fastball as his No. 1 pitch. Though he has enough velocity, at 92-to-95 mph, to match up with U.S. hitters, he's still going to get hit hard occasionally.
In his first start, he gave up a 410-foot double off the wall in center field to Will Venable of San Diego. Since then, he's gotten timid with the fastball, trying to work the corners without much success.
In his second start, Darvish allowed four walks and was constantly behind Cleveland hitters when he tried to lead with the fastball. It wasn't until after he moved to his off-speed and breaking stuff that he was able to get some outs.
With manager Ron Washington about to yank him before the third inning of his scheduled three-inning outing was complete, Darvish got a key double play on a slider.
"He was kind of getting frustrated," catcher Yorvit Torrealba said. "His fastball command wasn't there. He really wanted to keep throwing it. But I think when we see that, we need to mix it up. His secondary pitches are very good. He can throw them in any count, any situation."
Said Darvish, through an interpreter: "There might come a time during the season where I'm going to have an outing like this where I don't have my command and feel of my pitches. On those days, I've got to mix my pitches, use all my different pitches and just battle through it. I think I did that and that made today a positive step."
But other observers have noticed the nibbling.
"I think the big thing he's got to get over right away, is don't give these hitters too much credit over here," said Larry Bowa, the former shortstop and manager who is an MLB Network analyst.
"He pitched in Japan, went right at hitters because there weren't a lot of home run hitters, guys that could do a lot of damage. Here, he's got to trust his stuff. He's got to understand the greatest hitters in baseball make seven out of 10 outs when they get up there. So, he's giving those hitters in Spring Training a little too much credit. He's trying to nibble too much."
Rangers Notes & Quotes
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