BY: Richard W. Humphrey
Yu Darvish made his first major league appearance against San Diego in Peoria, Arizona Wednesday afternoon. He was somewhere between really good and spectacular. He ended the day with two scoreless innings, allowing a double in each inning. He struck out three, walked none, and threw 36 pitches (26 strikes). He faced eight batters, and threw a first pitch strike to seven of them. Interestingly, he never utilized a wind-up and threw all his pitches from the stretch. He also was involved in two fielding plays, one of which saved a run from scoring.
“Satisfied!” was the term used to describe Darvish’s performance by Rangers’ radio announcer Steve Busby. Darvish for sure made a couple of bad pitches, the most glaring of which was to Padres’ outfielder Will Venable leading off the second inning. Venable crushed a poorly located fastball high off the centerfield wall above a “410″ sign. Just a foot or so to the left and the ball was out of the ballpark instead of a double. It would have been a home run in Arlington and in most major league parks.
The final count of media credentials on the day was 150. It was perhaps the most anticipated game in spring training history. Most national baseball writers attended. One was Bob Nightengale, who tweeted that the game had “the most media coverage in Cactus League history.”
As for the game itself, the Rangers won 6-2, their second win of the season. They tallied four runs in the fourth on the strength of five consecutive two-out hits and added two more runs in the sixth to make a winner out of reliever Greg Reynolds, who threw two innings after Darvish departed. Miguel De Los Santos allowed the two Padres’ runs in the eighth inning.
Darvish is scheduled to toss 50 pitches or so in three innings next Tuesday against Cleveland in a game that will be televised nationally on the MLB Network. On Thursday, the Rangers host the White Sox Thursday in Surprise at 2:05 (Central). Neftali Feliz is scheduled to start for Texas and pitch two innings. He’ll be opposed by Hector Santiago.