Japan’s Darvish expected to return Saturday

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Starting pitcher Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers throws during a training session in Surprise, Arizona, on February 19. AFP PHOTO

Starting pitcher Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers throws during a training session in Surprise, Arizona, on February 19. AFP PHOTO

NEW YORK: Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, who has not thrown in Major League Baseball since the 2014 season, will make his return on Saturday, the team said Sunday (Monday in Manila) on its website.

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The 29-year-old Japanese right-hander is completing his recovery from “Tommy John” elbow tendon replacement and reconstruction surgery that he underwent in March, 2015.

Darvish reached the career 500-strikeout mark faster than any pitcher in major league history in 2014.

The son of an Iranian father and Japanese mother made a fifth developmental-league start on Sunday, striking out six batters while walking only one and surrendering only three hits, all singles, in six scoreless innings.

Darvish is set to rejoin the Rangers’ rotation next Saturday, when Texas will play Pittsburgh.

Darvish sparked the Nippon Ham Fighters to the 2006 Japan Series crown and starred for Japan’s 2013 championship team in the World Baseball Classic before joining the Rangers in 2012.

The Rangers kept injured South Korean outfielder Choo Shin-Soo out for a weekend series at Houston because of tightness in his left hamstring after only 2 1/2 innings Friday in his first game since being sidelined for nearly six weeks with a strained right calf muscle.

“It’s not a big injury, but I don’t want to be out again,” Choo said. “I was just out for 40 days.”

AFP

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