January 18, 2012
MLB Notes: Yu-phoria in Texas
By QMI Agency
ARLINGTON - Yu Darvish, supposedly one of the world's top pitchers, is taking his talents to the Lone Star State.
The Texas Rangers and Darvish agreed to a six-year contract reported to be worth $60 million shortly before a deadline to complete the deal.
The Rangers bid $51.7 million in December for a 30-day window to negotiate with the 25-year-old. Had they not agreed on a contract by 5 p.m. ET Wednesday, Darvish would have returned to Japan to pitch and the Rangers would have got their bid money back.
Darvish was 18-6 with a 1.44 earned-run average in 28 games last season for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan's Pacific League. He pitched 232 innings and struck out 276 batters. It was his fifth consecutive season of pitching at least 180 innings and finishing with an ERA of under 1.90. The Ham Fighters get the $51.7-million windfall.
Darvish, who is 6-foot-5 and has a fastball that averages 95 m.p.h., pitched for Japan's national team in the 2008 Olympics and the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Darvish would join a rotation that includes right-handers Colby Lewis and Alexi Ogando, and left-handers Derek Holland and Matt Harrison. The Rangers are planning on moving closer Neftali Feliz into the rotation, which could mean Ogando to the bullpen.
Darvish would be the third Japanese pitcher added to the Rangers 40-man roster, joining relievers Yoshinori Tateyama and Koji Uehara. The Rangers have had five Japanese pitchers play for them in club history with the others being Hideki Irabu, Akinori Otsuka and Kazuo Fukumori.
BRAUN: A POSITIVE RESPONSE?
Ryan Braun will appear at a banquet Saturday in New York to accept his National League MVP Award.
The Milwaukee Brewers left fielder is expected to face question about his 50-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. Braun is appealing the ruling.
The 28-year-old is coming off a career season in 2011, when he hit .332 with 33 home runs and 111 RBI.
SPRINGSTEAD DIES AT 74
Former umpire Marty Springstead has died at the age of 74.
Springstead was an American League umpire from 1966 to 1985. He worked three World Series --1973, 1978 and 1983.
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of Marty Springstead, an outstanding baseball man and an esteemed umpire," commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement Wednesday. "For a quarter-century, Marty mentored a new generation of our umpires, not only in the major leagues but around the world."
CUBAN TEEN EYES MAJORS
Cuban left-handed pitcher Gerardo Concepcion is close to being declared an MLB free agent after he established residence in Mexico, his agent told ESPN.
Agent Jaime Torres said the 18-year-old may begin negotiating soon with major league team. Concepcion is a resident of Mexico and training in the Dominican Republic.
Concepcion was rookie of the year in the 2010-11 Cuban Serie Nacional. He went 10-3 with a 3.36 earned-run average in 21 games (16 starts) with Industriales de la Habana.
He defected during the World Port Tournament in The Netherlands last June. Pitcher Aroldis Chapman defected in 2009 from the same tournament before signing a $30-million deal with the Cincinnati Reds.
With the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox at a stalemate over compensation for Theo Epstein, commissioner Bud Selig has been asked to resolve the issue. Epstein jumped to the Cubs in October as president of baseball operations. The Red Sox reportedly have asked for prospect Brett Jackson or pitcher Matt Garza ... Outfielder Jack Cust has signed a one-year deal with the Houston Astros worth $600,000. The switch-hitter hit .213 with three homers for the Seattle Mariners last season before being released ... Quebec City native Max St. Pierre, 31, has signed a minor-league contract with the Boston Red Sox that includes an invitation to major-league spring training. He hit .207 with four homers and 25 RBI at triple-A last season in the Detroit Tigers system.