Rangers manager Ron Washington got his first look at Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish and was impressed with the 25-year-old’s ability to keep the ball down in the zone and go about his business.
Washington cautioned that it was just a 30-pitch bullpen session, but he was as eager as anyone to get a look at the club’s major offseason investment.
"I was anxious to see his style," Washington said. "What I gathered is that he’s a power pitcher with finesse stuff. He can power the baseball. He can change speeds, he can sink it and he can run it. He has a great feel for the baseball."
Washington spoke with Darvish on Tuesday and reminded the pitcher that spring training is to prepare for the season and that he didn’t want him putting any added pressure on himself. The skipper deftly avoided giving any predicted win total for Darvish’s rookie season.
"I don’t predict that type of stuff in the game of baseball," Washington said. "I mentioned to Darvish that his job is to keep us in ballgames. Whatever amount of wins he gives us, it will be enough."
Washington said he didn’t notice any kind of issue for Darvish in terms of throwing a major league baseball, which is different from the balls used in Japan. He said Darvish simply went about his work and will continue to do so, just like the rest of the pitchers in camp.
"I love watching my guys play and I’m going to love watching him pitch," Washington said. "We’ve got to keep it in perspective. This is spring training. I think he will excite as many people as he needs to excite when he gets his first start in the American League. But as of right now, we want to make sure he’s comfortable and makes it through spring training.
"We certainly don’t want him to overwork himself here. Our pace may be a little different than the pace he’s used to. If there’s anything we need to do more of or less of, communication is the key. He’s a smart guy. He’ll do whatever he has to do to help us continue to move forward."