ARLINGTON, Texas — Yu Darvish is throwing again after Tommy John ligament replacement surgery during spring training.
So far so good for the Texas Rangers ace who is a week into his throwing program.
"I have no pain whatsoever," Darvish said through an interpreter Tuesday. "I've experienced nothing negative so far, I'm doing what I can each day, and everything has been positive."
Darvish started last week with light throws from 45 feet off flat ground three different days, the first time he had thrown since the surgery on March 17. The right-hander is set for 25 throws from 60 feet three times this week, and the number of sets will increase in the coming weeks if all goes well.
Speaking to a group of reporters in Texas for the first time since early May, Darvish said he will follow the throwing program prescribed by the team and won't try to rush anything. He knows it will be at least next season before he will be ready to throw in a game again.
"It's not like I can make September this year. If they tell me to slow down, I slow down," said Darvish, who threw one inning in his only spring training start before surgery.
Even though he had been unable to throw before last week, Darvish has been working out and appears to have added muscle this summer.
"It's hard being a Japanese to compete with your natural ability with the American players," said Darvish, who wore a sleeveless T-shirt while talking before the Rangers opened a six-game homestand. "I'm going to use this time to really train myself and build muscle,"
An All-Star in each of the past three seasons since coming from Japan, Darvish started last season on the disabled list after experiencing neck stiffness in spring training. He missed only one start then, and was 10-7 with a 3.06 ERA in 22 starts before his final 2014 appearance on Aug. 9 because of elbow inflammation.
Darvish is 39-25 in 83 starts for the Rangers, with 680 strikeouts in 545 1-3 innings. He led the majors with 277 strikeouts in 2013.
Asked how he felt from an emotional standpoint throwing again, Darvish downplayed having any overwhelming feelings.
"There's nothing moving about it. I've been throwing ever since I was a child," he said. "I have not been throwing for only five months, so there's nothing touching or moving about it."