ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers outfielder and 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton wanted to see for himself the official introductory news conference for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish.
Hamilton sat in the front row, beside co-chairmen of the board Ray Davis and Bob Simpson, and watched as Darvish calmly answered questions. Darvish cracked some jokes and showed composure. It impressed Hamilton.
"It was awesome," Hamilton said. "For him to be here is a good thing, not only for him, but for the Texas organization and fans. He'll fit in fine."
Hamilton believes that Darvish will surprise people by how quickly he's able to make the on-field adjustments needed to succeed, like learning big league hitters, throwing a different ball and dealing with the 100-degree Texas heat.
"I don't think the culture shock will be as big as people think, either," Hamilton said. "As a competitor, as an athlete, the on-the-field stuff will be easier for him to handle. The off-the-field things will be hard, but he'll have people to help him adjust."
Hamilton met Darvish when the Japanese pitcher came to Arlington in early January to get a feel for the place. Hamilton also said "Welcome to Texas" in Japanese in a recruiting video the club played for Darvish during his tour of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
"This is exciting," Hamilton said. "Spring training will be fun."