Darvish generates buzz in Toronto

Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish strolled into the visitors’ clubhouse at the Rogers Centre, sat down on one of the leather couches and let out a big yawn.

TORONTO — Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish strolled into the visitors’ clubhouse at the Rogers Centre, sat down on one of the leather couches and let out a big yawn.

The spotlight has never been brighter on the Japanese star but you wouldn’t know it by his demeanour.

He appeared as relaxed as could be Monday afternoon, a couple hours before taking the mound against the Blue Jays in a game that was televised across the United States on ESPN — a rarity for a Toronto game.

Darvish, 25, looked over at the group of reporters and smiled from his comfortable perch, a mess of shaggy reddish-light brown hair scattered across his forehead and over his ears.

He didn’t waste any time showing his stuff when he got on the mound. Darvish struck out Yunel Escobar and Kelly Johnson before getting Jose Bautista to fly out for a 1-2-3 first inning.

“He’s got a reputation,” said manager Ron Washington. “He’s a quality pitcher, he’s got quality stuff.”

A few dozen fans gathered near the right-field foul pole before the game to try to catch a glimpse of the six-foot-five right-hander as the Rangers tossed the ball around.

“I like his pitching because it’s very powerful,” said Toronto resident Tomo Tanaka, who’s originally from Japan.

Darvish was a star with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters before signing with the Rangers in the off-season.

He pitched for gold medal-winning Japan teams in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and the 2007 Asian Baseball Championship.

He’s off to a great start with his new team, entering Monday’s game with a 3-0 record and 2.42 earned-run average. Darvish is the first starter in Rangers history to win three of his first four career games.

“I’ve been impressed with his stuff,” Washington said.

“He can sink it, he can run it, he can hop it. He can slow it down, make it quick, cut it, split it. He can do everything with the baseball.

“It’s just a matter of using that stuff at the proper time and that’s what the catchers are here for. And so far he’s been following their lead.”

Media interest was much higher with the press box filled to capacity.

However, the stadium appeared only half-full at the start of the game.

The Rangers committed more than $107 million to acquire Japan’s top pitcher.

He got a six-year contract worth $56 million and Texas had to pay a record $51.7-million posting bid to the Ham Fighters.

The two-time Pacific League MVP had a 93-38 record with a 1.99 ERA in 167 games over the past seven years.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives to a press conference during the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. More federal financial support is on its way to help Indigenous people and communities cope with the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Feds to unveil more pandemic support for Indigenous communities

Another $650 million to help Indigenous communities

Alberta children whose only symptom of COVID-19 is a runny nose or a sore throat will no longer require mandatory isolation, starting Monday.
477 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta on Thursday

Changes being made to the COVID-19 symptom list for school-age children

Chasetin Morin
Photo from RCMP
Three men accused of assaulting Blackfalds RCMP officer going to trial

RCMP officer shot and wounded one of alleged attackers in December 2019

The Cenovus Energy Inc. logo seen at the company's headquarters in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
One-time costs of Husky takeover expected to be about $500 million, says Cenovus CEO

One-time costs of Husky takeover expected to be about $500 million, says Cenovus CEO

This drum circle was one of a multitude of activities held at The Hub on Ross in downtown Red Deer. The facility was permanently closed by the provincial government his week. (Advocate file photo.)
Many Red Deerians react with anger, dismay at closure of The Hub on Ross

Many disabled people can’t afford other recerational options, says guardian

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

Workers at Olymel's Red Deer pork processing plant are among those eligible for a $2-an-hour bonus because of the pandemic.
Red Deer Advocate file photo
Two Olymel workers test positive for COVID-19 in Red Deer

Two workers at Olymel’s pork processing facility in Red Deer have tested… Continue reading

Ryan, Falcons avenge earlier loss to Panthers, 25-17

Ryan, Falcons avenge earlier loss to Panthers, 25-17

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2015, file photo, former world boxing champion Roy Jones Jr. shows off his Russian passport during a news conference in Moscow, Russia. Mike Tyson and Jones got permission from California's athletic commission to return to the boxing ring next month because their fight would be strictly an exhibition of their once-unparalleled skills. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)
Mike Tyson, Roy Jones promise a fight in “exhibition” return

Mike Tyson, Roy Jones promise a fight in “exhibition” return

David Hearn watches his putt on the seventh hole during the first round of the Wyndham Championship golf tournament at Sedgefield Country Club on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, in Greensboro, N.C. David Hearn, like everyone, has been deeply effected by the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Chris Carlson
Canada’s Hearn looks to shake off poor 2020 results with more consistent play

Canada’s Hearn looks to shake off poor 2020 results with more consistent play

Malnati birdies half of holes to take 1-shot lead in Bermuda

Malnati birdies half of holes to take 1-shot lead in Bermuda

Penny Oleksiak swims the 200 metre race during the 2018 Team Canada finals in Edmonton on Wednesday July 18, 2018. The number of young swimmers in Canada is dwindling because of barriers posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Swimming Canada urges pools to accommodate youth, says can be done safely

Swimming Canada urges pools to accommodate youth, says can be done safely

Canada's Meaghan Mikkelson (12) and Marie-Philip Poulin (29) defends against United States' Hilary Knight (21) during the third period of a rivalry series women's hockey game in Hartford, Conn., Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada's director of women's national teams, hopes a Rivalry Series against the United States can happen this winter.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Dwyer
Canadian women’s hockey team yearns for international competition

Canadian women’s hockey team yearns for international competition

Most Read