Fujikawa can be guide for Darvish in Tommy John recovery process

New Rangers reliever underwent surgery in 2013

Fujikawa can be guide for Darvish in Tommy John recovery process

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish will undergo Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in Florida on Tuesday. If he needs a proven guide through the rehab process, teammate Kyuji Fujikawa is there for him.

"I just told him to stick to the process and use his time wisely," Fujikawa said. "He's a true professional. He'll do his own thing. He has been really positive and not worried about it."

Fujikawa, who spent the past two seasons with the Cubs, is the latest proof there is life after Tommy John surgery. Once the top relief pitcher in Japan, Fujikawa's jump to the Major Leagues in 2013 was knocked off course by an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.

Darvish to have Tommy John

The surgery was performed on June 11, 2013. Fujikawa needed 14 months to get back to the big leagues but pitched in 15 games for the Cubs at the end of last season. He had a 4.85 ERA and signed with the Rangers in the offseason.

"I feel good," Fujikawa said. "Last year I was still worried about the elbow and being healthy. This year my health is good. Physically feel good and I am able to control the fastball down in the zone. That's really improved in the last two years."

Fujikawa pitched for 12 seasons in Japan before signing with the Cubs. Over the final seven seasons with the Hanshin Tigers, he had 218 saves and a 1.60 ERA. The goal is to get back to that level, even if he is only a setup man behind closer Neftali Feliz.

"I think I have to prove it that way," Fujikawa said. "I have pride in myself. I have to show that. My job is to face hitters and the hitter out who is in front of me. Feliz is young and a great player as well."

Left field still open

Monday marked three weeks until Opening Day. The Athletics have announced that Sonny Gray will be their starting pitcher. The Rangers have yet to determine who will be their starting left fielder.

If there has been separation in the competition, manager Jeff Banister has not revealed it publicly.

"I'm going to allow them to compete," Banister said. "Show us who you are, what you are and what you have to offer. All are intriguing players with different skill sets. I want to give them every opportunity to show what they can do. But it's not going to come down just to production, 'Were you 4-for-5 at the plate?' Show what you bring with your skill sets and how you can be a part of our core group of guys."

Worth noting

• The Rangers gave outfielder Delino DeShields another day off as he recovers from a tight right hamstring sustained in Friday's game against the Giants. The Rangers are hoping he can play Tuesday against the Dodgers.

• Banister is using Wednesday's off-day to give his core players 2-3 days off here in the middle of Spring Training. Said Banister, "They have been getting after it for two weeks-plus. I wanted to give them a chance to exhale and get their legs under them."

Yovani Gallardo, Nick Tepesch and Joe Beimel pitch against the Dodgers on Tuesday in Surprise.

Tanner Scheppers, who has yet to pitch in a Cactus League game because of a sprained right ankle, will pitch in a Minor League intrasquad game. Also pitching in that game are Alec Asher, Shawn Tolleson, Feliz, Spencer Patton, Jon Edwards and Keone Kela.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.