SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish threw only 17 pitches on Monday, but it was still an important day for him.
Darvish threw from a higher elevation on Monday for the first time since having Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on March 17. Darvish did his work on the "half-mound" in the Rangers' bullpen after months of throwing off flat ground.
It's not a regular mound, but it does require Darvish to throw downhill, and that increases the pressure on the elbow. Throwing off the half-mound is an important step in the full recovery from Tommy John.
"I wanted to see how the elbow reacted and the pressure on it," Darvish said. "That's why it was important. I felt pretty good, no discomfort or anything."
The Rangers still don't foresee Darvish returning for another three months. He will continue to throw off a half-mound for the foreseeable future before graduating to a full mound. After those bullpen sessions will come live batting practice and then a medical rehabilitation assignment in the Minor Leagues.
"I would like to stay with the program given to me by the team," Darvish said. "Even if I tried to go faster, the team wouldn't let me. I'm satisfied with the program they have for me."
Most important is how he is feeling. Darvish is getting close to the one-year anniversary of his surgery, and so far there have been no setbacks.
"I can trust my elbow to throw every day," Darvish said. "I trust my new ligament. I have a better one."