Yu Darvish Reuters

Yu Darvish throws 21 pitches during intrasquad game


We usually don’t pay a lot of attention to these early intrasquad games, but the buzz surrounding Yu Darvish makes him a notable exception. In an outing which was broadcast back to Japan, the high-priced right-hander faced the Rangers’ A squad yesterday in front of a sizable crowd in Surprise, Arizona.

T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com notes that Darvish topped out at 96 mph with his fastball and threw 11 out of 21 pitches for strikes. He got Ian Kinsler to fly out to left field, struck out Elvis Andrus looking, walked Josh Hamilton on five pitches and got Adrian Beltre to ground out to second base.

Darvish was behind in the count most of the time and told reporters through his interpreter Joe Furukawa that he still has some work to do.

“I was very grateful, especially facing the top hitters,” Darvish said. “I enjoyed that. But I wasn’t quite happy with my mechanics.”

“There are just some things I want to continue to polish,” Darvish said. “The quality of my fastball is not close.”

Darvish’s new teammates were impressed after facing him, as Hamilton said “his ball moves tremendously” and Kinsler added that “I’m glad he’s on our team.”

Darvish is slated to two two innings and 35-40 pitches when he makes his Cactus League debut Wednesday against the Padres.

John Farrell will return to manage Red Sox in 2016

John Farrell
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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John Farrell will return to manage the Red Sox next season, provided he is healthy enough to do so, the club announced Sunday morning in a press release.

Torey Lovullo, who has been serving as Boston’s interim manager since Farrell was diagnosed with lymphoma, signed a two-year contract to return as Farrell’s bench coach. Lovullo also forfeited his right to pursue another managerial role with the new deal.

Farrell guided the Red Sox to the World Series title in 2013 and the problems with the Red Sox over the last two seasons have been more about roster construction.

Dave Dombrowski took over the front office from Ben Cherington back in mid-August and will try to turn things around this winter.

All of the other coaches on Farrell’s staff will return except first-base coach Arnie Beyeler.

Piscotty returns to Cardinals lineup after concussion

Stephen Piscotty
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
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Stephen Piscotty took the brunt of a frightening outfield collision last week at PNC Park, but he only suffered a mild concussion and was cleared for baseball activities a couple days later.

Now he is back in the Cardinals’ starting lineup, batting second and playing right field Sunday in the first half of a doubleheader against the Braves at Atlanta’s Turner Field.

Piscotty has an impressive .867 OPS with seven home runs and 39 RBI over his first 62 major league games. He should be a big part of the Cardinals’ postseason push, drawing starts in the corner outfield spots and at first base.

St. Louis will get either the Pirates or Cubs in the NLDS.