Found March 07, 2012 on
Fox Sports Southwest:
Boston Red Sox
San Diego Padres
PEORIA, Ariz. In what may have been the most scrutinized two innings in the history of spring training, Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish made a nice first impression Wednesday. Before he took the mound, at least 150 fans gathered to watch him warm up in the bullpen.
On the other side of the diamond, Padres veteran pitcher Jeff Suppan prepared in front of at least four people. At least 200 credentials were issued by the two teams, so the modest press box was packed to the gills.
Normally in a spring training, you see players milling around in the dugout not paying too much attention to the game. But when Darvish took the mound in the bottom of the first inning, every Padres player was on the top step watching his every move. Darvish would later insist that he wasnt nervous about his first outing, but no one believed him.
Not even Daisuke Matsuzaka got this type of reception when he made his debut for the Boston Red Sox, according to Rangers public relations director John Blake, who was with Boston at the time. It was completely quiet in the stadium before each Darvish pitch Wednesday, but then you heard a symphony of cameras each time the ball left his hand.
He threw his first strike as a Ranger at 1:13 local time to Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin. He would throw first-pitch strikes to seven of the eight batters he faced. He struck out Maybin on a 2-2 count with an 84-mph slider.
Darvish got ahead of Orlando Hudson 1-2, but he gave up a double to right field on a 92-mph fastball. The Padres would end up 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position against Darvish. Jose Guzman lined out to center field and then Darvish finished off power hitter Carlos Quentin with a nasty curveball.
The game was broadcast on four different TV networks in Japan and the first inning was shown on ESPN News. The excitement for Darvishs debut started to build during the Rangers workout in Surprise on Wednesday morning. Rangers manager Ron Washington admitted to being excited, but felt like he couldnt show it to his players.
"Followers follow the leader," Washington told FOXSportsSouthwest.com. "If I get out of control, it means theyll get out of control."
If not for a 40-foot wall located in center field, Darvish would've given up a home run to start the second inning. Padres right fielder Will Venable destroyed a 92-mph fastball that caromed of the top of the wall. But that set the stage for Darvish to show off his athleticism. When Rangers first baseman Michael Young made a diving stop on Mark Kotsays grounder in the hole, he looked up and Darvish was waiting for the ball on first base. The pitcher wheeled around to make sure Venable stayed at third.
He then used every bit of his 6-5 frame to spear James Darnells chopper and deliver a smooth throw to the plate to catch Venable in a run down. Darvish finished the inning by striking out catcher John Baker on an 88-mph splitter.
Washington couldnt have drawn up a better scenario. His rookie pitcher wasnt perfect, but he was able to pitch out of trouble. As crazy as it sounds, this was as pressure-filled a situation as youll ever see in spring training.
Darvish delivered on the mound and then he caused his first mini-controversy by being dismissive of Venables blast.
"With the dry air in Arizona and the wind blowing out, it carried the ball," Darvish told reporters. "It didn't seem like a ball that was hit that squarely."
Venable would later tell the Padres flagship radio station that hed like to see a little more "humility" from Darvish. He sarcastically added that no one hits the ball squarely off Yu Darvish.
The Rangers rookie pitcher is supremely confident, as evidenced by a story Jon Daniels told on our 103.3 KESN-FM radio show Wednesday. Rangers top prospect Martin Perez recently asked Darvish how he fared in his first intra-squad scrimmage. Darvish told him he pitched "OK" and then asked how Perez had done in his first outing. Perez smiled and said it only took him 12 pitches to complete his inning.
Darvish then instructed his translator to ask Perez how old he was.
Informed that Perez was 20, Darvish responded, "Tell him I already had a Cy Young by then."
As we said earlier, the man knows how to make an impression.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
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-hander with the shaggy, orange-tinted hair and a dark goatee who was a dominant pitcher for seven years...
(INSERT YU PUN HERE)
Yu Darvish saw his first live Major League Baseball action today. Even if the game didn’t count, the results were impressive.
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The question on whether Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish would be able to make the transition to the Major League game began to be answered on Wednesday when the Texas Rangers played the San Diego Padres in Cactus League action.
Darvish threw 36 pitches, 26 of them strikes and allowed only two hits (both doubles) in two scoreless innings.
Prior to the game many of his teammates kept...
Not everyone was enamored with Yu Darvish's debut on Wednesday.
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Two scoreless innings on March 7 are as meaningless an indicator as baseball can offer, but know this about Yu Darvish:
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25-year-old Japanese phenom Yu Darvish made his MLB (Spring Training) debut today for the Texas Rangers. The 6'5" right-hander was very impressive, tossing two scoreless innings against the San Diego Padres.
Here's more on Darvish's debut, from USA Today's terrific baseball writer, Bob Nightengale:
Darvish struck out three batters in two shutout innings...
San Diego Padres outfielder Will Venable being the first hitter faced by $100 million Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn’t exactly the kind of confrontation you’ll be telling your grandkids about. Or even your coworkers.
But that doesn’t mean Venable and Darvish can’t turn this into the kind of feud only baseball players could get into. The headline of this ESPN article...
Either something was lost in the translation, or Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish already is practicing the American art of damage control.
Darvish’s agent, Don Nomura, attempted on Thursday to clarify the pitcher’s comments on a booming double by the San Diego Padres’ Wil Venable the day before.
Darvish, speaking through an interpreter after his spring debut for the Texas...
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Sports Writer
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Yu Darvish flashed a sizable assortment of pitches, a huge smile and even some nice leather in his debut for the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.
What he didn't show was any nerves.
"I've thrown in so many games, you know?" he said through a translator.
Sure has. The 25-year-old right-hander was a dominant pitcher...
FORT MYERS, Fla. Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish made his spring training debut Wednesday for the Texas Rangers. Between 100 and 150 media members descended on Peoria, Ariz., to watch Darvish.Tsuyoshi Nishioka used to command that type of media attention. Well, maybe not reporters by the hundreds, but there was a time when Japan's media contingency focused their attention...
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This post is the latest in Ryan’s fantasy baseball position primer series. To see his primers for all other positions, click here.
Other primers: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF
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