If you’ve forgotten about Yu Darvish, you’re forgiven. The former Texas Rangers ace had Tommy John surgery 18 months ago and is still rehabbing his arm back to where it needs to be to pitch in the majors again. That means Darvish had to spend extra time throwing at the Rangers spring training facility, starting with simulated games and working his way up to pitching against live hitters. When the rest of your team has already started the season, that all sounds pretty boring. Darvish must agree, because he decided to spice things up.
On Thursday, Darvish tossed batting practice to a couple of the Rangers’ minor league prospects, the first time he’s faced live hitters since he went under the knife; and to give himself some extra motivation, he offered to pay Joe Jackson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa $1,000 if either hit a home run off him. Neither did, of course. Darvish is too good, even during a rehab stint, to let that happen. But it did make for a bit of intrigue in an otherwise mundane step in Darvish’s journey back to a major league mound.
“I didn’t give them a strike,” Darvish told the Dallas Morning News.
After throwing to the minor league hitters, Darvish said he still doesn’t feel close to 100 percent, so his return to the Rangers’ rotation is still a ways off. Still, it’s cool to see Darvish attempting to have some fun through what is otherwise a grueling rehab process.