Rangers' Yu Darvish projects 'mid-May to June' return to mound

null Baseball Rangers righthander Yu Darvish intends to be pitching for the team by "mid-May to June" he said Tuesday in Arlington, Texas, as he continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery, The Dallas Morning News reported."I feel great," he said through an interpreter. "I'm feeling even stronger than before surgery. In every part of my body, I feel stronger." MORE: Offseason winners and losers | Top 50 prospects in 2016In projecting his timeline, Darvish said he is throwing five to six times a week at distances up to 120 feet. Twice a week, he makes 20-25 pitches on flat ground, though he isn't throwing breaking balls yet. His goal: to throw off a mound "in March." And although he has pinpointed May to June for his full return, he says he feels as if he could throw "95 [mph] right now."

One bonus, the Morning News noted, is that his time away from pitching may have rekindled his love for baseball."My career has been 10 years now; that's a long time," said Darvish, 29. "I used to enjoy just throwing the ball. But after 10 years, sometimes it becomes routine, and you just don't enjoy that as much. Having that time, I feel more joy now. I'm taking more time to just enjoy baseball."He pointed to teammate Prince Fielder's "Comeback Player of the Year" season in 2015 after neck surgery and an arduous rehab that also meant an enforced absence from baseball."I know he mentioned that last year, that he was having fun again," Darvish said of Fielder. "I feel like I'm the same way. If I can enjoy and do what I can do on the mound, I think the results are going to come. He had a great year last year. I'm hoping I get the same results this year."