DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Yu Darvish wins the Rookie of the Month for the AL in April. Fine, he had a monster month.

Except for one thing.

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I don’t consider Yu a “rookie.” He’s been a professional in baseball for seven years in Japan, and that league is much better than the Minor League system we have here in the states. And on the stage that is Japan NPBL, the competition and the expectations/pressure are much closer to that of MLB than the Minors.

He’s not a rookie.

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Let me ask you this. Are your expectations for him higher than that of a rookie? Is he paid like a rookie? When Arvedis Sabonis or Toni Kukoc came over to the NBA from Europe, did you REALLY consider them rookies? I didn’t. Drazen was no rookie, he was a seasoned pro. When Ichiro came into the league, there was nothing rookie about him. When Hideki Matsui came into the league and had 25 home runs and over 100 RBIs. He was 30 years old, a former Japan MVP and a grown man. There was nothing rookie about him.

If I had a vote in 2001, I wouldn’t have voted for Ichiro as ROY, and in 2003 I wouldn’t have voted for Matsui as ROY. Ichiro won it, Matsui didn’t. I hope the voters learn to respect the league he comes from. It may not be as good as MLB, but the pressure and the stage are just as big over there, and the competition is better than anything we have here that isn’t MLB.

Simply put, not a rookie.

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