Soto may become Darvish's personal catcher

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Yu Darvish threw 27 pitches of live batting practice on Sunday with Geovany Soto behind the plate. Darvish has thrown three bullpen sessions and Soto has caught two of them. A.J. Pierzynski caught the first one.

Washington has not committed to Soto being Darvish's personal catcher, but he does like the relationship between the two. Soto was behind the plate for Darvish's final eight starts in '12 when he went 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA.

"He was a big part of my success," Darvish said. "We had really good communication from the beginning."

The Rangers acquired Soto on July 30 from the Cubs, and pitchers had a 3.90 ERA with him behind the plate. But his work with Darvish stood out to Washington.

"We had good chemistry and an understanding of each other," Soto said. "He has great stuff and he understands baseball terms. The biggest thing I did was know when to go to the mound to get him to relax, when he needed a breather."