SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Last year, the arrival of Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish was a major international story. Media were camped out for days -- many of them from Japan -- and when he walked in, it was a scene of clicking cameras and media jockeying for position just to get a look at him.
But that was before he threw a pitch in a bullpen session, let alone a big league game. Now, after a year of making the adjustment to the major leagues, Darvish returned on Monday with absolutely no Japanese media waiting for him. He will get coverage, obviously, but the Rangers don't expect quite as much. Darvish is expected to talk at some point this week. And he'll do so with short, black hair (the orange highlights are gone).
He walked out with the rest of the pitchers to toss a ball around on the back fields this morning and said hello to many of his teammates. This spring should be a lot easier on Darvish, now that he's gone through it before.