American League Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, April 9th (All times Eastern)
Seattle Mariners (3-1) at Texas Rangers (2-1), 8:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Seattle - Hector Noesi (0-0, 0.00) Texas - Yu Darvish (0-0, 0.00)
(Sports Network) - The Texas Rangers unveil Japanese superstar Yu Darvish this evening when they open a four-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Shortly after losing left-hander C.J. Wilson in free agency, Texas acquired Darvish from Japan's Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters for a posting fee of $51.7 million, before inking him to a six-year, $60 million contract.
"I want to become the kind of pitcher that will make people say, 'Darvish is the No. 1 pitcher in the world,'" Darvish said recently.
A two-time Pacific League MVP, the 25-year-old Darvish pitched to a sub-2.00 earned run average the past five seasons for the Ham Fighters, becoming the first pitcher in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league to accomplish that feat.
He's thrown at least 200 innings in four of the past five seasons and struck out 276 batters in 232 innings last year while leading the league in walks/hits per inning pitched for the fifth straight season (0.83). He went 18-6 with a 1.44 earned run average -- the lowest of his career.
"Darvish is only human," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "His first game at the major league level, he'll probably have butterflies and need to settle down. But he did a good job of settling down in spring training. He's pitched in big games before, I don't care if it was in Japan. I expect him to do the same thing as others, keep us in the ballgame."
Darvish impressed in spring training, striking out 21 batters in 15 innings.
"I have worked in Spring Training to prepare myself for this, but I'm still not 100 percent, like I will be in midseason," he said.
Darvish will be taking the hill for a Rangers team that opened their season by taking two of three from the Chicago White Sox. On Sunday, Adrian Beltre clubbed a two-run homer and Josh Hamilton and David Murphy added long balls of their own, powering the Rangers to a 5-0 win.
Matt Harrison (1-0) limited Chicago to four hits, walked two and struck out three in six innings of work.
Seattle, meanwhile, hasn't played since holding on to beat Oakland, 8-7, on Saturday. Chone Figgins had three hits, two RBI and a run scored, while Felix Hernandez earned his first win of the season in that one for the Mariners, who almost blew a six-run lead, but won for the third time in four tries to start the season.
"This team looks way better than last year. We're going to surprise people," said Hernandez.
Getting the call for the Mariners tonight will be newly-acquired righty Hector Noesi, one of the pieces obtained from the New York Yankees in the Michael Pineda deal. Noesi started two games for the Yankees last season, but appeared in 30 games, going 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA.
"All my career I've been a starter, and I've been preparing to be a starter in the big leagues," Noesi said. "It's a lot more different for me being in the bullpen than being a starter."
04/09 10:47:06 ET