GOODYEAR, Ariz. (CBSDFW.COM) – Despite the hype surrounding one of Japan’s best baseball pitchers crossing the Pacific to play Major League Baseball, Yu Darvish is human.
And there are days when the 25 year old pitcher has “it”. And there will be days like Tuesday in Goodyear, Arizona, against the Cleveland Indians.
Yu Darvish made his second start of the Cactus League season for the Rangers. The first at-bat was a taste of what was to come for manager Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux.
Darvish gave up a walk to lead-off batter Michael Brantley and the second batter, Asdrubal Cabrera. Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba was the star of the inning. He threw out Brantley trying to steal second during Cabrera’s at-bat. Torrealba did it all over, again, throwing out Cabrera trying to steal second while Shin-Soo Choo was at the plate.
“If Torrealba wasn’t catching today, I’d probably given up 10 runs,” said Darvish through his interpreter.
Darvish had better control in the second inning. He gave up a single, but struck out one to prevent any damage on the scoreboard.
The third inning magnified Darvish’s control issues. It started with Jack Hannahan’s double to right-center. Yu threw seven consecutive balls to catcher Lou Marson and Brantley resulting in back-to-back walks.
With the bases loaded and no outs, Darvish gave up a single to Asdrubal Cabrera for the first run allowed by the Japanese pitcher this Spring.
Yu received a visit from pitching coach Mike Maddux. A visit Darvish said included “a word of encouragement”.
Darvish says he threw a slider to the next batter, Choo, who grounded into a double play for the first two outs of the inning.
“That was a big play for that inning,” said Darvish.
Yu’s day was done when Travis Hafner hit a fly ball to center field for the third out of the inning.
Yu’s line for the day: 3 innings pitched, 3 hits, 2 runs, 4 walks and 2 strikeouts.
“I struggled with the 2-seam and 4-seam fastball…I was off on my fastball,” Darvish admitted during his post-game news conference. An estimated 75 members of the media from Texas, Arizona and Japan were in attendance.
He said there wasn’t a specific plan but to pitch during the first two outings. And for the third outing? “Yes, there will be something to work on,” although Darvish wouldn’t elaborate.
Still, Yu wasn’t phased by the less than stellar outing in front of a crowd of 5,500 people. “It was a positive step getting ready for the season,” explained Darvish.
OF Craig Gentry sprained his left wrist diving for Jack Hannahan’s double in the 3rd inning. X-rays were negative.
Many Rangers starters didn’t play against Cleveland. Gentry, David Murphy, Mitch Moreland and Torrealba were among the regulars getting work against Cleveland. Rangers fill-in 2B Yangervis Solarte hit a 2-run homerun to right field in the 3rd. It’s his second home run in Cactus League play. The Rangers scored 6 runs in the 3rd inning while batting around the order against Indians starter Josh Tomlin.