Darvish keeps spring hitless streak intact

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Aesthetically, it may not have been a thing of beauty, but Yu Darvish emerged from his second Cactus League start unscathed and his hitless spring still intact.

The Rangers right-hander threw 39 pitches -- 23 for strikes -- blanking the Padres for three innings while surrendering two walks. Darvish has now thrown five spring innings without allowing a hit.

"The definition of a good pitcher is to get outs when you don't have your good stuff, and I think I did that today," Darvish said through translator Kenji Nimura.

Darvish never felt totally comfortable gripping the baseball Monday. The only pitch he found a groove with was his slider, which he said he used more frequently than usual. The highlight of Darvish's afternoon was getting Padres first baseman Kyle Blanks' knees to buckle on a 1-2 slider with a fierce bite in the second inning.

"He said he didn't feel as comfortable as possible," said Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who is new to working with Darvish after signing with Texas in the offseason. "But he had three shutout innings with no hits, so he looked pretty good."

Darvish had nothing but good things to say about his new batterymate after his second time throwing to the former White Sox backstop.

"He's a great person, he's a great communicator and I feel really comfortable throwing to him," Darvish said.

Darvish had been experimenting a little with a changeup, but he threw it only once on Monday and said it's not a pitch he plans to throw in a meaningful game any time soon.