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.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that the Dodgers have acquired catcher Carlos Ruiz and cash from the Phillies in exchange for catcher A.J. Ellis, minor league pitcher Tommy Bergjans, and a player to be named later. It was reported on Wednesday that Ruiz and first baseman Ryan Howard both cleared waivers and that Ruiz was drawing interest from a couple of teams.
Ruiz, 37, has served as the backup catcher behind Cameron Rupp. Over 193 plate appearances, he hit .261/.368/.352. He continued to play solid defense and has always had a reputation for handling his pitchers very well. In fact, in a commercial for the video game MLB 2k11, former Phillie Roy Halladay essentially professed his love for Ruiz:
Ellis, 35, is a free agent after the season while Ruiz has a club option for the 2017 season worth $4.5 million. It seems likely that the Dodgers pick up that option and make Ruiz Grandal’s backup next year. Ellis hit a lousy .194/.285/.252 in 161 plate appearances, but the Phillies aren’t particularly concerned with his production since they’re still facilitating their rebuilding process.
Bergjans, 23, has spent the season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga. He’s posted a 4.98 ERA with a 133/29 K/BB ratio in 130 innings spanning 21 starts and three relief appearances. He went to school in Haverford, PA so the Phillies are bringing in a local guy.
Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista has been activated from the 15-day disabled list ahead of Thursday night’s game against the Angels, the club announced. Utilityman Ryan Goins has been optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to create room on the roster.
Bautista missed the minimum 15 days due to a sprained left knee. He’s battled injuries throughout the season, limiting him to just 355 plate appearances over 80 games. He’ll resume play with a .222/.349/.444 triple-slash line, 15 home runs, and 48 RBI.
Bautista is in Thursday night’s starting lineup, batting first and serving as the DH.