Baseball: Darvish, "in shape for season," awaits birth of next child

SPORTS

Yu Darvish, who was held out of the World Baseball Classic by the Texas Rangers, showed some sharp form on Saturday in a preseason start against the Cincinnati Reds.

Making his last start before heading back to Texas to be present for the birth of his second child with former wrestling champion Seiko Yamamoto, Darvish allowed two runs in 4-2/3 innings.

He allowed two hits, struck out six, walked two and hit a batter as the Rangers and Reds played to a 3-3 tie at Goodyear Ballpark.

"That eight-pitch (fourth) inning was my strongest, but my last one wasn't," said Darvish, who allowed his only earned run in the fifth.

"Because my cutter, changeup and sinker were all good, I'm pretty much ready to go."

The 30 year-old was prevented from pitching for Japan this spring at the WBC after pitching just 17 games last season on his return from Tommy John surgery. But in four preseason games, Darvish has allowed four earned runs in 12-2/3 innings.

His results have spurred the media to quiz manager Alan Bannister about whether Darvish or lefty Cole Hammels, a 15-game winner last season, will start on opening day.

==Kyodo

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