SURPRISE, Ariz. – Yu Darvish made some little waves after his start Wednesday in Peoria.
He gave up a leadoff double in the second inning to Will Venable and when asked about it afterward said, through a translator, that it was wind-aided.
"With the dry air in Arizona and the wind blowing out, it carried the ball," Darvish said. "It didn't seem like a ball that was hit that squarely."
Some of the Japanese media said Darvish might have meant that he, meaning Darvish, wasn't squared up to the plate.
Venable didn't say much after the game to a large group of media but was told of Darvish’s comments and then had more to say in an interview the Darren Smith Show on XX 1090, the Padres’ flagship station.
“I think the wind saved it from being a home run,” Venable said. “I also heard that he didn’t think I hit it squarely. If that’s the case, I don’t think anyone has squared off a ball off of him. That’s as well as I could hit a ball, to be honest. I don’t know if something was lost in translation there.
“I would have liked to hear a little more humility from the guy. To each his own. He’s a confident guy. Of course I didn’t square up a ball because he’s Yu Darvish.”
My take: Darvish is confident in what he can do and doesn't back down. His choice of words wasn't the best, but many pitchers don't like to give the hitter credit. To say the hit was wind-aided or that Venable didn't square it up isn't accurate. That ball hit very high off that wall and would have been out any other part of the park (and Washington acknowledges that the wall saved the Rangers from a homer on that hit).
Chalk it up to another learning experience for Darvish, who besides studying big league hitters and figuring out the best way to get outs each start is also adjusting to dealing with a bunch of questions from the media and learning a new language. Still, you've got to like Darvish's confidence. And there's nothing like a minor back-and-forth between pitcher and hitter in spring training.