Darvish to test arm with longer throwing session

Righty throws 18 pitches Saturday; Davis not ready for game action

Darvish to test arm with longer throwing session

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, who is a year removed from Tommy John surgery, is getting ready to ramp up his throwing program.

Darvish threw 18 pitches during another bullpen session on Saturday, and pitching coach Doug Brocail said it went much better than on Thursday.

"He was really good today," Brocail said. "He threw all his pitches, and it was the best slider I've seen this spring. Today, it was extremely good in the zone. His cutter was good.

"He wasn't scheduled to throw today. I wanted to give him two days off and throw more pitches. But he felt a little choppy the other day, a little lethargic. He said having two days off wasn't good. He didn't want to do that again and I'm good with that."

Spring Training: Schedule | Tickets | More info

Darvish threw nine fastballs and nine offspeed pitches. Brocail wants him to increase to 30 pitches on Monday and have 24 be fastballs.

"Our next two weeks is about building arm strength and seeing how the arm responds," Brocail said.

Brocail has simple message for Rangers pitchers

Davis still not ready for first

First baseman Ike Davis, who has been sidelined for 12 days with a sprained knee, is progressing but still not ready to return to game action. It could be another week before he is ready.

"I really have no idea of the timeline of playing first base, but it should be before the spring is out," Davis said. "They said three weeks completely healed. When you get to a new club, you want to play in front of them, but I knew coming in it would be a different year for me."

Davis was already coming off hip surgery from last September. The hip has remained healthy, so he needs the knee to come around. There appears to be not enough time to win a job on the Opening Day roster unless something happens to Mitch Moreland or Prince Fielder. Davis, a left-handed hitter, had just eight at-bats in four Cactus League games before going down with the sprained knee.

"I need to play baseball," Davis said. "Obviously, stuff happens, you don't know what. We still have two weeks left, we are not necessarily running out of time. I can get 20 at-bats in one day in the Minor Leagues."

Worth noting

• Right-handed pitcher Luke Jackson, who has been sidelined for over two weeks with a stress reaction in his lower back, is expected to throw off a mound for the first time on Tuesday.

• Right-hander Nick Martinez starts on Sunday against the Angels in Surprise, Ariz. Cole Hamels is scheduled to start in a Minor League game, and Jeremy Guthrie has been pushed back to Monday to start against the Rockies.

• Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo played against the D-backs on Saturday after missing a week with tightness in his back. He went 1-for-3.

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