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Yu Darvish News and Notes: January 22, 2012

by on Jan.22, 2012 @ 2:11 pm, under MLB

Headlines on Yu Darvish from January 22.

Nikkan Sports

Darvish's Marijuana T-Shirt - The t-shirt is making waves in the US.  When asked about his t-shirt: "I did not worry about what I wore when in Japan.  I wore things with English written on them.  I realized what I was wearing when my father told me.  There really is no meaning behind me wearing [this t-shirt]."

English Links: Far out: Was that a marijuana leaf t-shirt that Yu Darvish was sporting today in Texas? (Yahoo Big League Stew)

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A brief interview with Neftali Feliz that includes the following quotes: "Leave the late innings to me. ... That would be the ideal way to help the team record victories.  But I may not have a chance [to close because he goes the distance]. ... I have seen footage of him pitch.  I felt a little scared thinking about how he throws his fastball down at you.  I am sure that will pitch will work well for him."

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Darvish arrived Dallas/Fort-Worth International Airport 4:24pm, about two and a half hours before his press conference.  There were twenty TV cameras in the lobby, eleven of them from US and Japanese TV stations.  Five police officers, that were hanging back at first, rushed in to keep Darvish safe.  A Japanese TV cameraman hit his head in the commotion and bled.  A police car also arrived at the scene to help.

At the stadium, eight broadcasting vans were parked outside the stadium.  A total 40 TV cameras and 200 reporters provided coverage.

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Notes that pitchers in the US average about one bullpen session (40-50 pitches) every two days or so during spring training.

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Comments from the press conference (just picked the ones that were not included in a previous update):

What did you say to [Yoshinori] Tateyama and [Koji] Uehara?

I told them that I looked forward to working with them, but I did not ask them about what it is like [to play for the Rangers].

Which batter[s] would you like to face?

I do not really know them that well, so I can not think of any off the top of my head.  I did watch the Rangers play the Cardinals during the World Series.

Why did you decide to come to the Majors at this time?

I went through a number of things before making the decision.  I will talk about it when I return to Japan.

You watched game six of the 2011 World Series, would you like to pitch in that kind of game?

If I was there pitching as my 2011 self I think I would have lost on a homer.  But, I think my 2012 self will be ok.

You will be playing in the same division as Albert Pujols.

I have not seen a lot of his plate appearances, but it does seem like he can hit the ball far.

Texas is about barbecue steak, your thoughts?

I ate steak.  I also think of boots.

Your impressions of Nolan Ryan.

He gave me a book.  He is a big man and it seemed like he could still throw 150km/h.

What about an English speech?

My listening is ok but I have a hard to with words when I speak.  I think I will get better if I have about two months.  [I could not prepare a speech because] I came straight from my training in Miyazaki.  I did not even have time to shave or dye my hair.

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Sponichi

Via Sponichi: The Biz of Baseball's Maury Brown breaks down Darvish's salary structure a bit more.

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The Fighters have held free press conferences at Sapporo Dome on two occasions in the past: Shinjo's retirement in October 2006 and Saito Yuki introduction in December 2010.  Darvish's press conference will be the third.

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Mentions how Darvish has given up just 58 homers in 1,268.1 innings of work and just 10 homers over the last two season (434 innings).  Then notes in a separate article how 228 homers were hit at Rangers Ballpark last year, tops in the majors.

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Recalls that Darvish tossed two bullpen sessions when pitching on six days of rest.  Also breaks down the schedule:

  • Day One: played catch with his left and did some light running on the first day after his last start
  • Day Two: excused from team practices, does his own training routine
  • Day Three: first of two bullpen sessions
  • Day Four: focus on running and dashes
  • Day Five: second of two bullpen sessions
  • Day Six: short dashes and playing catch (while having his partner squat)

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Darvish's mother told reporters that English was the primary language at home until Darvish turned three or four.  That slowly changed over time as Darvish's father learned Japanese.  In either case, she feels Darvish should be fairly used to listening to English.

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Introduces Yuichi "Joe" Furukawa (41) as Darvish's interpreter.

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When Darvish took the mound after his press conference, he threw the ball with both his left and right arms.

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GM Jon Daniels is apparently open to the idea of the Rangers beginning their season in Japan at some point in the future.

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Masumi Kuwata feels that if Darvish is really thinking of this as a challenge, then he should do this by himself, not by enlisting the help of Japanese trainers, nutritionists, or interpreters.

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Darvish got the Nippon Ham Fighters to improve their weight room (he asked about it in December 2006 during salary negotiations) and player showers (he asked about it in January 2011) at Sapporo Dome.

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Comments from the press conference (again, just sections not included in a previous update):

How will you prepare for the hot Texas summers?

I have not experienced it but I think I can think of ways to get over it.  But right now, I am not really sure.

Has anyone like Ichiro, [Hideki] Matsui, or [Daisuke] Matsuzaka, given you any advice?

They have not said anything to me, but I think since I will be in America, I will have to do things like an American.

You mentioned doing things like an American, what about pitching?

With regards to pitching, I have not faced any batters so I can not really say how I will approach them.  What I meant with what I said before is about my private life.  I can not be as sensitive about things as I was when I lived in Japan.  I just have to go with the flow.

What was your meeting with the managers and coaches like when you visited earlier this month?

It did not feel like a meeting.  They made me feel like I was going out to eat with family.  That was a lot of fun and that made me happy.

Which team were your cheering for during the 2011 World Series?  The Rangers were one out away from winning it, would you have been able to seal the deal?

All the Nippon Ham players were rooting for Texas.  If it was my 2011 self, I probably would have lost by giving up a homer.  I think my 2012 self will do just fine.

What do you think of Texas?  What would you like to accomplish?

Texas is a great place.  It does not really feel new either.  I think I should continue the things I have been doing during my time with Nippon Ham, like how I prepare and how I train.  I think I should continue to practice hard until spring training.

Have you eat Texas barbecue?  What do you think is unique about Texas?

I have not eaten barbecue, but I did eat steak.  I think the boots are unique.

We hear you read a book on Nolan Ryan when you were younger.  You also spoke about pitching.  Your impressions?

We did speak about that.  He also gave me a book.  He's a big guy and it felt like he could still hit 150km/h.

What do you plan on doing until spring training?

I will return to Japan and begin a throwing program soon, or rather toss a bullpen session.  I would like to be prepared, at least to some degree, for spring training.

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Daily Sports

Notes a ten hour flight and a fifteen hour time difference.  They also mention 27 TV cameras and about 250 reporters.

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UPDATE @ 3:31pm - Darvish's press conference at Sapporo Dome on January 27 will begin at 4pm.  Doors to the stadium will open at 3pm.  While admission will be free (the Fighters will foot the stadium usage fees), parking will not.  The Fighters are expecting about 10,000 fans.