About fifty media representatives waited for Yu Darvish to arrive at the Spring Training facilities on Thursday. Over 100 were on hand before practices even started. And 150+ media representatives from the US and Japan covered Darvish's post-practice press conference. His parents were also in attendance.
Practices lasted about two hours and included pitching batting practice (nineteen pitches). Darvish is scheduled to pitch in an intra-squad game on March 2.
MLB.com has posted a portion of his press conference from Thursday.
How was your first day?
This was the second day for me so it was normal.
What do you think of all media, including those from Japan?
This kind of thing also happened in Japan so I am not really surprised. I am doing ok with it.
Anything catch you off-guard so far?
Nothing has really surprised me. But the facilities here, as a baseball player, I am lucky to be able to workout here.
Anything about MLB camp that seems confusing?
I feel there are some similarities to when [Trey] Hillman managed Nippon Ham, so it does not feel that overly different.
Are you proactively branching out in order to speak to teammates?
We are one in the same, we are members of the same team, so it goes without saying that we speak to each other. I also do not want to get stuck in the "Japanese group" either. My English is awful.
You met with [Albert] Pujols during your workouts in Los Angeles.
That was in private... We met in private, so I have nothing to say. But in terms of him being a player I will face, and this goes for all players, I am looking forward to it.
You throw a lot of pitches. The catcher might be having a hard time with that.
That is not something you should ask me. You should ask the catcher. I am not a catcher so I do not know.
Where will you try peak out your workouts?
Peak? I do not think about peaks when I workout. But I want to build off of each game, one at a time, and pitch well.
Compared to practices in Japan, will not being able to throw a lot of pitches have an effect?
I never really threw that much during camp to begin with. I think I may have throw the least amount of pitches so the workload now is probably just right.
What kind of things did you do during the off-season?
I wanted to gain some more weight, but I felt heavy so I dropped it. I am at about the same weight as last year, but I have more power. I think I will be able to throw better pitches than last year.
What are you doing to adjust to the MLB baseball?
I purposely used non-polished, brand new baseballs during the off-season and it made throwing over a lot easier.
What is one area you feel you can compete in?
I got here by putting in a lot of effort with my training and eating. The amount of effort does not change physique. I feel I can compete with my body. I am not sure about technique, but I think I will be ok there too.
Unlike Japan, the schedule is very detailed. How do you feel about that?
Nothing in particular. I have no complaints. I was able to do everything without any problems.
You mentioned you had no worries during your intro press conference, but do you have any worries or anything you are looking forward to [now]?
I am not really here to have fun. I am not here because people around me think I feel a certain way. I am just here to play baseball. I just want to enjoy baseball as usual. That is all it is about.
What did you feel when you put the Rangers' uniform on?
I started wearing it the day before yesterday so nothing... I do not really have those kinds of feelings. It is just a normal, as any uniform is normal. I do feel I have certain responsibilities as a Ranger, but nothing in terms of feeling something just because I wore a uniform.
What do you like about the United States?
There is a lot of organic food. And no one says anything when I go to restaurants. I am having a lot of fun. I like it all.