Next step for Rangers ace Darvish is pitching in a game

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish is close to throwing in a game for the first time since his elbow surgery last year.

Darvish threw 47 pitches Thursday in his third session on the mound for live batting practice.

The next scheduled step in his rehab is pitching in a game for Double-A Frisco next Tuesday night. The Japanese right-hander is on track to be back in the Rangers rotation by late May.

General manager Jon Daniels says Darvish looked healthy during the session facing rehabbing slugger Josh Hamilton and Rangers catchers Brett Nicholas and Bryan Holaday.

Darvish hasn't pitched in a game since Aug. 9, 2014. He experienced tightness in his right elbow in his first spring training start of 2014, then had Tommy John surgery 12 days after that.