Chiba Lotte Marines Sasaki Rocky (22) couldn’t help but admire the pitch of San Diego Padres’ Darvish Yu (37).
Daily Sports, 온라인바카라 a Japanese media outlet, said on the 18th, “Darvish entered the bullpen for the first time and threw 35 pitches. Beyond the net behind the catcher, young pitchers such as Sasaki Loki all mobilized to watch Darvish pitch, creating a strange situation.”
Darvish is Japan’s leading ace with a record of 95 wins, 75 losses and an ERA of 3.50 in 242 major league games (1488 innings). Last season, he went 16-8 with a 3.10 ERA in 30 games (194⅔ innings) and signed a six-year, $108 million contract extension with San Diego.
Darvish, who will participate in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) to be held in March, is the only major league player to join the Japanese national team camp early. He spreads powerful balls at the national team camp and has a good influence on young pitchers in Japan.
Sasaki, who became a hot topic last year by achieving the youngest perfect game in Japanese professional baseball, watched Darvish pitch and said, “It was amazing. He admired, saying, “Every ball was great.” Last season, Sasaki, who recorded 9 wins, 4 losses and an average ERA of 2.02 in 20 games (129⅓ innings), is a top-class prospect who throws fastballs exceeding 160 km/h, and is expected to grow into an ace representing Japan in the future.
Upon receiving Darvish’s ball, national team catcher Takuya Kai (Softbank) said, “I was very nervous, but it was a great ball. Now that we are entering the game, we talked about various things, including my posture. I want to help Darvish to throw comfortably in the future. I asked him to just throw it like now. It’s a ball I’ve never received before. All the balls are great and it was a pleasure to receive them. I was literally touched,” he said, expressing his feelings on receiving Darvish’s ball.
Japan, along with Korea, were drawn in Group B in the first round of the WBC. Japan is expected to be the biggest challenge for Korea, which is aiming to pass the first round in 14 years since the runner-up in 2009. In particular, Darvish is expected to be the most vigilant for Korea as Darvish has the possibility of appearing in the Korea-Japan match.