Rangers’ right-hander Yu Darvish was in downplay mode Saturday as he talked to reporters about his Opening Day start against the Cleveland Indians Monday evening at Globe Life Park. He’ll face Indians’ right-handed ace Corey Kluber, who attended Coppell High School.
Although it’s Darvish’s first time with the honor for the Rangers, he did it five times in Japan.
“I’ll take it like just any other game,” Darvish said through his interpreter. “I’m not trying to imagine how I’ll feel on the mound. I don’t expect anything different. I like to go game by game. I do my job one game at a time, that’s what I try to do.”
100Career starts in the majors for Yu Darvish, who has a 3.29 ERA with 812 strikeouts in 645 2/3 innings.
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But Darvish knows Opening Day is different. He understands this could be the start of a special season for him if he stays healthy. He’ll be making his 101st start in the majors after 17 in limited action a season ago after returning from Tommy John surgery. The last time Darvish stayed healthy an entire season was 2013.
Manager Jeff Banister was tickled by Darvish trying to treat Opening Day just like any other start.
Right-hander Yu Darvish made five Opening Day starts in Japan but Monday will be his first for the Rangers.
“Well, if you took all the banners down, we didn’t line up, we didn’t have the flyovers and we weren’t on national television, it’d be the same,” he quipped. “I think he’ll handle it great. I’m sure there will be some anxious moments just because he wants to get this underway.”
“I know he’s excited to have this opportunity. I’m excited for him, just the significance of who he is in Japan, to be able to do the same thing here, I expect he’ll be fine,” Banister added.
“I feel great. It was a long spring training,” he said. “I just like to focus on my outing. I want to go out there and have fun.”