GOODYEAR, Ariz. — The first curveball Yu Darvish threw Saturday afternoon was taken for a strike by Joey Votto, and the Goodyear Ballpark crowd delighted in the pitch’s arc and slow pace.
The second curveball Darvish threw Saturday afternoon was launched about 450 feet by Joey Votto, who upon crossing home put an index finger to his lips to tell the Goodyear Ballpark crowd to hush up.
The reaction appeared to be a little over the top for a spring training game, but Darvish wasn’t affected in the least. He looked terrific again just as he has all spring, and the right-hander declared himself fit for regular-season action after the Rangers beat Cincinnati 6-2.
“He put a good swing on that ball, and it was some really good hitting,” Darvish said. “I didn’t know what that [gesture] meant, but my teammates told me later on. I’m not really too concerned, though. I was able to get him out the second time around.”
Votto, who struck out in his next at-bat against Darvish, said: “I was just fooling with the crowd. It’s spring training, and we’re having fun. There’s nothing really to it.”
Darvish allowed three hits, two of them solo homers, in five innings in his first game since being scratched because of a stiff neck. He said he has no physical issues and just needs to get his pitch sequences together in his final spring start.
Darvish is 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA this spring after 13 2/3 innings. He has allowed eight hits, walked three and struck out 15.
“I’m ready to start the season now,” said Darvish, who struck out five, walked one and threw 78 pitches against the Reds.