First impressions on Darvish's near perfection, Hicks' tough start, Harper's blasts and more

The first two days of the season are complete. Here are some first impressions:

* Yu Darvish's perfect game was broken up with two outs in the ninth in the Rangers' 7-0 win in Houston on Tuesday night. It brought back memories of April 4, 2001, when the Red Sox's Hideo Nomo, who, like Darvish is from Japan, threw a no-hitter versus the Orioles at Camden Yards. The Orioles' Delino DeShields made the final out. Red Sox second baseman Mike Lansing's tumbling catch of a Mike Bordick's pop was the closest the Oriole got to a hit. Nomo had 11 strikeouts, Orioles starter Sidney Ponson 10.

* Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks, a prospect who wasn't expected to be in the majors until July, had the toughest first day assignment: He made the Twins out of spring training, batted leadoff in the coldest opener in Minnesota since 1962 and wound up striking out three times against Detroit's Justin Verlander.

* The Braves will be without lefty reliever Jonny Venters for at least a month, but they aren't out of bullpen lefties. Eric O'Flaherty is an underrated setup man and Luis Avilan, who lacks experience, throws a hard, sinking fastball that's similar to Venters. Avilan became a Braves fan at 7 in Venezuela when former Braves first baseman Andres Galarraga visited his hometown.

* The White Sox's Chris Sale dominated the Royals for 7 2/3 innings and is on his way to becoming one of the best lefties alongside David Price and Clayton Kershaw, but will his funky delivery hold up or give him serious arm problems five years down the road?

* Tampa Bay is picked by many to win the American League, mainly because of the Rays' deep pitching, but it is difficult to see. One of these years, the Rays' young pitching is going to falter. And, how can they win in the American League East with an opening day lineup that has James Loney at first and Sam Fuld in the outfield? It doesn't appear their offense is any better than last season.

* The Phillies' Chase Utley finished a double shy of the cycle in a loss to the Braves on Monday. Utley is in great shape after getting a chance to play in a full spring training for the first time since 2010.

* Magic Johnson, one of the Dodgers' owners, was a world class NBA player, so it was fun to watch his child-like glee when Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw hit a home run in Los Angeles. Johnson was absolutely giddy.

* As if the Marlins don't have enough troubles: Their best starter in spring training, Nathan Eovaldi, starts the season on the disabled list along with another starter, Henderson Alvarez. That puts 20-year-old Jose Fernandez, a Cuban refugee who has never pitched higher than Single-A, in the rotation. Fernandez starts Sunday in New York.

* The Rockies' Walt Weiss got his first win as a manager, beating Milwaukee 8-4, using three pitchers to get three outs in the ninth inning. If that isn't shades of his former Oakland manager, Tony La Russa, what is? By the way, the Rockies have had 26 hits in their first two games.

* Bryce Harper's monster home runs were incredible for the Nationals, but here is what is even more incredible: Harper doesn't turn 21 until November.