GLENDALE, ARIZONA – Kenta Maeda limited his third bullpen of the spring on Friday to 34 pitches as he threw alongside rehabbing lefty Ryu Hyu-jin at the Los Angeles Dodgers’ training camp.
“Because I felt good throwing, I thought that’s enough,” said Maeda, who is trying to acclimate himself to the shorter big league rotation ahead of his first season in the majors.
In a session in which he was focused on his breaking pitches, Maeda’s two-seam fastball was livelier, with better velocity and movement using the major league ball, which is slicker than that used in Nippon Professional Baseball.
“I think I’ve been able to get a pretty good feel for it,” said Maeda, who was throwing one mound over from Ryu.
“When I first arrived, he often came up to talk to me.”
Ryu debuted with the Dodgers in 2013 and won 14 games in each of his first two seasons. The South Korean southpaw, who also threw 34 pitches, had shoulder surgery last May and is expected to return to action in the middle of the season. He deflected comparisons with Maeda.
“I’m not interested in comparisons between Maeda and myself,” said Ryu. “He’s my teammate, so I want him to do his best.”
Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt indicated that Maeda’s next task would be to work on his pitches while throwing batting practice.
In Surprise, Arizona, Texas Rangers hurler Yu Darvish continued his rehabilitation from elbow surgery, throwing 25 pitches from a low mound. With no signs of difficulty after mixing in a variety of pitches, the right-hander will likely start throwing from a regular mound next week.
“Because it doesn’t hurt, I think it was good,” Darvish said. “Some people have told me that just when you think it’s good, the next day you’ll suddenly feel so much pain you can’t throw. But I haven’t had that once.”