Darvish officially tabbed Rangers' Opening Day starter
FEB 25, 2014 11:52a ET
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas manager Ron Washington told fans at last month's Rangers Fan Fest that he thought Yu Darvish would be the team's Opening Day starter.
Tuesday morning he told Darvish, tabbing the right-hander to start the March 31 game against Philadelphia at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
"Yu is the kind of guy who doesn't show a lot of emotion," Washington said of Darvish's reaction to the news. "He was excited. He said he's going to work his tail off to make certain that he does a good job and represents well."
The decision comes as no surprise. Darvish finished second in the American League Cy Young voting last season, going 13-9 with a 2.83 ERA and 277 strikeouts in his 32 starts.
"That was one of the easy ones," Washington said of the decision. "Last year it was Harry (Matt Harrison) because he won 18 games the year before and he had tenure. It could have very easily been him (Darvish) last year. I just wanted to get that out of the way so he can just prepare."
Darvish took the news in stride.
"I am just going to try and do my best," Darvish said.
Darvish will be the fifth different Texas pitcher to start Opening Day over the last five years. The last pitcher to start consecutive Opening Days was Kevin Millwood, who started four consecutive. Since then it's been Scott Feldman (2010), C.J. Wilson (2011) and Harrison (2012).
Washington knows that tabbing a pitcher the Opening Day starter carries a message.
"There's no doubt he knows he's our horse," Washington said.
The Darvish selection also adds to what figures to be an international Opening Day lineup. The Rangers will likely have starters from the United States, Japan, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, South Korea, Venezuela and Curacao against the Phillies.