SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Yu Darvish continues to show he is back to full strength after missing the final seven weeks of the 2014 season with mild inflammation in his right elbow.
Darvish was in the first group of pitchers who threw in the bullpen during the Rangers' first official workout on Saturday morning. Pitching coach Mike Maddux was among those who watched Darvish, and he came away impressed.
"I thought Yu threw very well," Maddux said. "The ball was coming out of his hand clean and his command was good. There are no issues with his elbow."
Carlos Corporan, who was acquired from the Astros in the offseason, was assigned to catch Darvish's first bullpen.
"I'm happy that I'm here and I don't have to face him now," Corporan said. "He almost spotted up every pitch. Down and away, down and in. Curveball was sharp. He was throwing pitches in the dirt where he needs to, so it was kind of impressive.
"It was kind of game action right there. It felt really good, I felt really comfortable with him. So, something good; we need to build that relationship for the season to start. I know he has a lot of pitches, so I need to do my homework so that he feels comfortable with me."
"They know what they are doing and it showed," Maddux said. "Gallardo looked really sharp."
The Rangers' rotation, hit hard by injuries, had a combined record of 46-69 with a 4.75 ERA that was the second highest in the American League last season. The members of the 2015 staff are determined to change that.
"We're all excited," Holland said. "Nobody talks about our rotation, but I feel very confident in it. I think we're as good as any rotation in the American League. We know what happened last year. We're going to make a statement this year."
In the past, Rangers pitchers opened camp by throwing live batting practice. Maddux and manager Jeff Banister decided to change that this year. Pitchers will throw two times in the bullpen, and then either live batting practice or another bullpen the third time out. Their fourth session will be live batting practice, and then they will pitch in an intrasquad game. Then comes the Cactus League.