- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 7, 2012

PEORIA, Ariz. — Yu Darvish struck out three in two scoreless innings and made a run-saving play in his spring training debut during the Texas Rangers’ 6-2 win over a split squad of San Diego Padres on Wednesday.

The Rangers spent more than $107 million this winter to land the 6-foot-5 right-handerr who was a dominant pitcher for seven years in Japan. Darvish’s stated goal is to become the world’s best pitcher.

Pitching exclusively out of the stretch, Darvish threw 36 pitches, 26 for strikes. He allowed two hits, both doubles.

He struck out his first batter, Cameron Maybin, looking, and his last, John Baker, swinging. He also made two nice defensive plays, one of which prevented a run in the second inning.


White Sox’ Peavy happy after first start of spring

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jake Peavy was pleased with his performance after allowing three runs and four hits in a two-inning spring debut for the Chicago White Sox, a 10-6 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday.

Hoping to make more than 30 starts for the first time since 2007, Peavy said he focused on fastball command, throwing few breaking pitches. He struck out two, walked none, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.

*ATHLETICS: Oakland designated hitter Manny Ramirez was a late scratch from the starting lineup Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers because of stiffness in his back. Ramirez, 39, who signed a minor league contract with the Athletics in late February, is hitless in five plate appearances and has hit only one ball out of the infield.

* ORIOLES: Baltimore newcomer Wei-Yin Chen had a solid debut, pitching two scoreless innings against Minnesota Twins. Chen, a native of Taiwan, pitched in Japan the last four seasons. He signed a three-year, $11.3 million contract with the Orioles in January.

*REDS: Cincinnati closer Ryan Madson, who was signed as a free agent, threw on the side Wednesday. He’s been held out of games because of tenderness in his elbow.

*PIRATES: Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker was scratched from the lineup before Wednesday’s game because of a sore lower back. He is expected to be out two or three days.

*YANKEES: New York closer Mariano Rivera, who has strongly hinted he will retire after this season, is to throw batting practice for the second time Thursday and likely will pitch Sunday.

*GIANTS: San Francisco outfielder Melky Cabrera continued his torrid hitting, going 3 for 3 against Colorado to raise his spring average to .571 (8 for 14).

*ASTROS: Houston right-hander Bud Norris threw three hitless innings against Philadelphia in his first start of the spring. In his second full season, Norris led the Astros with 176 strikeouts in a career-high 186 innings. He didn’t have a strikeout Wednesday.