Sunday, January 21, 2018
Sports

Poised Darvish dazzles in debut

PEORIA, Ariz. — Yu Darvish flashed a sizable assortment of pitches, a huge smile and even some nice leather in his debut for the 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.

The right-hander, 25, was a dominant pitcher for seven years in Japan before the Rangers spent more than $107 million to acquire him this winter.

Darvish struck out three in two scoreless innings and made a run-saving play in a 6-2 win over a Padres split squad. His debut at Peoria Sports Complex was chronicled by more than 150 reporters, most from Japan.

"I was really looking forward to pitching," Darvish said.

The 6-foot-5 right-hander with the shaggy, orange-tinted hair and a dark goatee whose stated goal is to become the world's best pitcher threw exclusively out of the stretch, something he had cleared with pitching coach Mike Maddux.

Twenty-six of his 36 pitches were strikes, and he allowed two hits, both doubles, including one by Will Venable off the center-field wall leading off the second.

Darvish struck out his first batter, Cameron Maybin, looking, and his last, John Baker, swinging. He also made two nice defensive plays, one covering the bag when first baseman Michael Young dived to rob Mark Kotsay of a hit.

"He got over pretty quick. He's definitely a little more athletic than some of the Japanese pitchers that we've seen come over here," Maybin said.

Then, came his really big defensive play. With Venable racing in from third with the apparent first run of the game, Darvish reached high to snare James Darnell's high hopper.

Venable froze as Darvish fired to catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who chased Venable back down the line a few steps before tagging him out.

"Yeah, he's really tall," Young said. "I don't think we have many guys who can make that play."

CUBAN STAR NEARLY READY: A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, the Cuban defector who signed a four-year, $36 million contract in February, is expected to make his Cactus League debut this weekend. Cespedes, 26, has been working out and participating in drills since arriving in Arizona on Friday.

SCOUT EJECTED: Giants manager Bruce Bochy apparently thought a rival scout was getting too much of a good look at his team. At Bochy's request, a scout for the Angels who was watching the Giants take infield practice was ejected from Scotts­dale Stadium. "I don't think it's the time for scouts to be there," Bochy said.

CARDS HONORED: Baseball's Hall of Fame will honor three generations of Cardinals' World Series champions on July 21, the day before this year's induction ceremonies. Hall officials said there will be a special recognition for the living managers who led the Cardinals to World Series titles: Red Schoendienst (1967), Whitey Herzog (1982) and Tony La Russa (2006 and last year).

A'S: DH Manny Ramirez, the (briefly) former Ray, was a late scratch from the starting lineup because of back stiffness.

ORIOLES: Left-handed reliever Wei-Yin Chen, signed out of Japan, made a clean exhibition debut, pitching two scoreless innings against the Twins and striking out the side in his second inning.

PIRATES: Second baseman Neil Walker was a late scratch because of lower-back soreness and is expected to miss another 2-3 days.

RED SOX: Left-hander Andrew Miller, a candidate for the fifth starter's job, was scratched from his scheduled outing today with stiffness in his pitching elbow.

ROCKIES: Making his first appearance since July 20, 2010, left-hander Jamie Moyer, 49, pitched two scoreless innings in an 8-6 loss to the Giants.

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