MLB Padres star pitcher Darvish aims to be ready by Seoul | Crickit
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MLB Padres star pitcher Darvish aims to be ready by Seoul

AFP |
Feb 24, 2024 11:46 AM IST

MLB Padres star pitcher Darvish aims to be ready by Seoul

Japanese star pitcher Yu Darvish, battling back from an injury that cut short his 2023 Major League Baseball campaign, plans to be ready for San Diego's season-opening series in Seoul next month.

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The 37-year-old right-hander, who helped Japan win the World Baseball Classic last year and in 2009, threw 32 pitches in a simulated inning on Friday and wants to take the mound when the Padres play the Los Angeles Dodgers in South Korea on March 20-21.

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"Right now, the goal is to be ready by Korea," Darvish said through a translator. "I'm aiming so that I'm ready by the time we get there."

Darvish had a bone spur in his right elbow that caused him to miss the final month of the 2023 campaign. He was been healthy and cleared for full off-season activity before teams gathered to begin pre-season workouts.

Padres manager Mike Shildt said Darvish had been planned to face the Dodgers in a pre-season matchup on Friday but that was changed, in part so Darvish could work in a stable environment before facing his first foes of the year.

"I've got complete confidence that Yu's going to be ready," Shildt said in a post on the MLB website. "Him throwing a live BP (batting practice) is way more about two things. One, allowing him to get built up in a controlled environment. And two, Yu Darvish knows what he needs to do to compete at the highest level, which he has done for a long time."

Darvish did not like the way he began his session, surrendering a walk and an extra-base hit, but was pleased to answer with strikeouts later.

"Toward the beginning, I wasn't finishing my pitches the way I wanted to, but gradually I got better, and I was able to finish my pitches, so I take that as a positive," Darvish said.

Darvish has pitched for the Dodgers, Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs over his 11 MLB seasons. In 2017, he helped the Dodgers reach the World Series, where they lost to Houston in seven games.

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