TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels won't get their first look at the Texas Rangers' new $111 million pitcher, Yu Darvish, this weekend because the Rangers are using him in a minor-league game rather than bringing him with them to Tempe. Their pitching coach, Mike Maddux, was pretty blunt about the reason.
"(The Angels) are not going to show us (anything)," Maddux told ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett. "A lot of teams do that."
Turns out, he's right. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the team likely will use C.J. Wilson in a camp game Sunday while using one of their minor-league pitchers to face the likes of Mike Napoli and Josh Hamilton. Scioscia was more coy about the reason, saying a minor-league game gives the team an opportunity to shorten innings, making sure Wilson gets to his proper pitch count and innings tally.
So, Angels hitters will still be in the dark, but the team's quest for information has already begun. Jeff Cirillo, the former All-Star infielder, has been scouting Texas for the Angels this spring, while general manager Jerry Dipoto has seen Darvish throw on a couple of occasions. Once the season starts, the scouting baton will be handed to advance man Gary Varsho. The Angels already are in the process of stockpiling video of Darvish from Japan.
"It's a bit of a cat-and-mouse game," Angels director of pro scouting Hal Morris said. "There are a lot of different areas where we're gathering information."
No matter how deeply the Angels dig this spring, the real game will begin when Albert Pujols and their other hitters get their first look from the batter's box. They could face Darvish during a three-game series in Texas May 11-13, one of -- most likely -- four to five times they'll see the right-hander this season.
Torii Hunter said the early edge will be Darvish's, but time is on the hitters' side. He said he gradually became more and more comfortable facing Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, another mega-star to emerge from Japan.
"All of the Japanese pitchers have pretty much the same style," Hunter said. "They throw almost the same breaking pitches, almost the same off-speed stuff, pitch in the same way. In fastball counts, they throw a lot of off-speed stuff and they have an explosive fastball. It might be 92 (mph), but it has a little extra get-up."