The moment that Texas Ranger fans have been waiting for has finally arrived.
Newly acquired pitcher, Yu Darvish, will take the mound for the Rangers tonight vs. the Seattle Mariners in his first, highly-anticipated Major League debut.
With the news this summer that former “ace” starting pitcher C. J. Wilson was headed to the division rivals Los Angeles Angels, the Rangers had to make a big move; fortunately, they were able to do just that by bringing in the 6’5″, 215 lb. hurler from Japan.
But that move wasn’t without risk.
Darvish is a $112 million investment ($108 million guaranteed) for the ball club.
Pretty steep for a guy who has yet to pitch in a professional game in America, but the potential is certainly there, as evidenced by his incredible professional career in Japan, where Darvish is a media sensation.
Ranger fans have already gotten a small glimpse of what Darvish is capable of bringing to the mound during spring training. Through four starts in the Cactus League, Darvish pitched his way to a 1-0 record and a 3.60 ERA. In his 19 complete innings, Yu pitched a total of 19 innings, notching up 26 strikeouts.
Since Yu’s arrival, his teammates have been quite impressed with the Japanese superstar. Second baseman Ian Kinsler claims that while most pitchers have 2, maybe 3 great pitches, Darvish has “maybe 6, 7, or 8.”
And if there was any concern that coming to play in the United States would be a culture shock for the 25 year-old pitcher, especially one that is such a celebrity in his home country, those were soon allayed by his ability to fit right in with his fellow Rangers, who all claim that he is an incredibly hard worker and a great teammate.
When asked about Darvish’s transition to the major leagues, Rangers’ owner and president Nolan Ryan told the Dallas Morning News, “I think he very much has (fit in). I think that was his intent when he came over. He wants to fit in as a member of the team and not be treated differently. He realizes that there is a lot of fanfare that comes with him and the attention from the Japanese media. The fact that he wants to be a teammate and do what the rest of the team does tells us where his heart really is and how he wants to make that transition.”
So, will this translate to the diamond? Will Darvish be worth the astronomical investment?
It’s a long season, so only time will tell.
But it’s safe to say, all eyes will be on the young pitcher as he takes the mound tonight at 7:05 CST for the Rangers.