ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Yu Darvish is staying home in Japan instead of traveling to Texas later this month to accept his award as the Rangers’ pitcher of the year.

Darvish said in a statement issued by the team Wednesday that he “unfortunately” won’t be able to attend the team’s awards dinner Jan. 24.

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The pitcher says his top priority is preparing for the season and that traveling roundtrip from Japan would be too difficult at this point in training. He thanked fans for their understanding.

Darvish was 13-9 with a 2.93 ERA in 32 starts last season. He led the majors with 277 strikeouts and was second in the AL Cy Young Award voting.

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He dealt with inflammation from nerve irritation in his lower back the last six weeks of the season.

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