Darvish wants to become “the best pitcher in the world”

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Reason I was out the past few days: trip to Texas. Reason for the trip to Texas: none of your beeswax, frankly, but know this: the entire time I was there I barely heard a single word about the Rangers. Maybe that’s because I was doing way too much of this. Hard to say.

All I know for sure is that the Rangers buzz is going to get pretty big down there pretty soon as everyone wakes up from football season and realizes just how great a race there’s going to be in the AL West this year. And a big part of that is going to be Yu Darvish.

There was a press conference in Tokyo this morning featuring Darvish. Oh, and 10,000 fans too, which tells you what kind of figure Darvish is over there. At the press conference, Darvish set his sights pretty high when explaining his move to the United States to pitch for the Texas Rangers:

“I want to become the kind of pitcher that will make people say ‘Darvish is the No. 1 pitcher in the world’ … I want to feel the thrill of pitching against the world’s best hitters. It was becoming harder to stay motivated in Japan.”

World’s best hitters, huh?  Did anyone tell him just how many games he’s going to have against the A’s, Mariners and Astros over the next several years?

Oh well, I won’t tell him if you won’t. Would hate to disappoint him.

U.S Defeats World in a power-packed Futures Game

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They played the Futures Game yesterday, pitting the top prospects from the United States against the top prospects from the rest of the world. You most likely missed it because, for reasons that have still yet to be adequately explained to me, the game takes place on Sunday afternoon, when literally all 30 major league teams are in action. Oh well.

If you did happen to see it, however, you saw a lot of bombast, as the two teams combined for eight home runs, with Team USA prevailing, 10-6. It was the United States’ eighth win in the past nine Futures Games.

Yusniel Diaz of the Dodgers system hit two homers — he was the first one to do that in a Futures Game since Alfonso Soriano did it back in 1999 — but Taylor Trammell of the Reds system was the game MVP following his 2-for-2 (HR, 3B) performance. Other highlights involved Reds pitching prospect Hunter Greene, who threw 19 fastballs among his 27 pitches, each and every one of them hitting triple digits, with one registering at 103.1 m.p.h. Not that velocity is everything: a 102.3 m.p.h. pitch he threw ended up being deposited over the fence for a two-run homer by Luis Alexander Basabe of the White Sox system.

Also of note was a homer from Ke’Bryan Hayes of the Pirates system. Notable for it breaking a tie and putting the U.S. up by two, but also notable because Ke’Bryan is the son of former big leaguer Charlie Hayes. Feel old yet?

There was a lot of back and forth, and certainly a lot of bombast, but the U.S. took its final lead on a wild pitch. Here are some highlights:

Here’s hoping, in the future, the Futures Game is moved to Sunday evening or even Monday where people will have a better chance of seeing it.