Yu Darvish took the mound today to a mostly empty stadium and an overflowing pressbox. The scribes gathered from miles around to take in Darvish’s first Spring action and the Japanese superstud did not disappoint.
Darvish pitched two shutout innings, surrendering a hustle double to Orlando Hudson (Pasta Diving Young!) and a rocket off the bat of Will Venable. The Venable pitch was legitamately rocked, careening high off the centerfield hitter’s eye some 410 feet from home plate.
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) March 7, 2012
Of the 36 pitches Darvish threw, he unofficially coaxed eleven swinging strikes (Update: nine whiffs.) He totalled three strikeouts, throwing just nine balls. Darvish featured a fastball that reportedly touched 95 in addition to a hard two-seamer. He showed a big slow curve that will bring a damn tear to your eye, throwing it first pitch against Will Venable to lead off the second inning. Which is completely unfair, if we’re being honest. Darvish also featured the nasty slider you see below (courtesy of Baseball Time in Arlington) and a filthy change up to K John Baker to end the second inning.
Drawing any conclusions from this 36 pitch cameo is folly. Darvish pitched from the set position even without men on base and might be battling his mechanics a little bit? Either way, he is really fun to watch. Like, really. He throws so many pitches you really don’t know what you will get.
He even flashed some leather, skying off the mound to snare a high bouncer before tossing to the plate to force the breaking Venable. It was great fun to watch, just like the 30-odd starts he stands to make this season figure to be. Yu Darvish – it’s all happening!