Arlington, TX, United States (4E Sports) – Barring any hitch or injury, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington declared that Yu Darvish will start Opening Day when the team takes on the Philadelphia Phillies.
“I think it’s obvious. It’s Darvish,” Washington said when asked during the Rangers Fan Fest at Rangers Ballpark Saturday.
The Japanese pitcher recently received an injection to relieve inflammation in his lower back after the season was over but Washington said he is working out as normal this offseason in Japan.
Darvish is the fifth straight different pitcher to start on Opening Day after Kevin Millwood, who started four consecutive in a Rangers uniform, left Texas. He joins Scott Feldman (2010), C.J. Wilson (2011), Colby Lewis (2012) and Matt Harrison (2013) on that list.
He started the Rangers’ second game of the season in 2013 and had a perfect game broken up with two outs in the ninth inning in Houston.
Darvish was the runner-up in the AL Cy Young Award balloting last year after going 13-9 with a 2.83 ERA in 209 2/3 innings. He led the league with 277 strikeouts.
Earlier this week, Darvish received praise from Hall of Famer Greg Maddux.
“The sky is the limit for him,” Maddux said. “He’s got four quality pitches. He’s pitched now over here for two years. Hopefully, he’s a lot more relaxed and Americanized, or however you want to say it. I think if he continues to be better and wants to be better, there’s no telling how well he can do.”