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.