ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's finally time for Yu Darvish's big league debut. And while it seems that everyone inside and outside the Texas Rangers organization is excited, one wonders about Darvish. He says he's excited. But will he be particularly nervous?
Rangers manager Ron Washington expects a few jitters from Darvish. After all, you only make your major league debut once.
"He's only human," Washington said. "It's his first game at the major league level. He'll probably have some butterflies just like everyone else had their first time out there. I thought he did the settling down part as spring training moved along. This guy has pitched in big games before. I don't care if it's been in Japan or not. He's only human. He'll have some jitters. I just want him to go out and do what [Derek] Holland and [Colby] Lewis did and that's keep us in the ballgame."
Darvish will face a Seattle Mariners team that Washington said is improving.
"They've got the same lineup, but the kids are a year older," Washington said. "[Manager] Eric Wedge is working his magic, which he's capable of doing. They are young, energetic, [Chone] Figgins looks like he's coming back off of a bad year and if he becomes what they thought they had, that will make them dangerous. The pitching staff is another year older. The bullpen is solid. They have a closer that can close ballgames down."
Washington also likes what the Mariners have done with Ichiro Suzuki in the order, dropping him down a bit.
"He's capable of driving the ball and where Eric Wedge has him now, I think you'll see him let it go a little more," Washington said. "He shows you in [batting practice] that he can hit the ball as far as anyone. They've gotten off to a good start. They are playing with confidence. We'll have to wait and see if they can handle the 162-game grind."