I seem to recall a few suggestions for better songs centered around the sound of the word "Yu," and maybe those of you who offered them up can set me straight. Until then, though, let's go back to the well again:
● Behind the TFR paywall, the Professor has a full complement of spine-tingling observations on Yu Darvish's two innings of work yesterday, including this analysis of the Darvish vs. Beltre matchup:
Vs. Adrian Beltre (RH): 95 (FB); k; 93 (FB) k; 89 (FB) k/foul; 94 (FB) groundout
Breakdown: With a runner on first, Darvish was forced to abandon his windup delivery, one that finds the righty taking his hands over his head, pausing for what seems like five-to-ten minutes, before drifting into his drive. Coming from the stretch, Darvish was able to execute his powerful delivery while maintain good pace to the plate, clocking times in the 1.2 range (which is fast). Despite the walk to Hamilton and the release point issues that plagued the appearance, Darvish attacked Beltre with purpose, mixing the fastball well, ranging the pitch from 95mph and wiggly to 89 mph and heavy. Beltre wasn’t able to barrel it.
● Barry Horn bemoans the fact that Darvish's pitching debut in a Rangers uniform will be telecast internationally (via Japan's NHK), but will not get a domestic telecast, as FSNSW doesn't begin broadcasting Cactus League games until later this month. From what I can tell, women's college basketball is being run on FSNSW during the first 30 minutes of Darvish's debut tomorrow, so there's that.
● Yesterday, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow remarked before the crowd at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference that the Rangers' television deal had enabled them to "spend like drunken sailors" in Latin America, and his mildly derogatory comments ended up gaining some exposure by way of Twitter. Later in the day, Luhnow backpedaled from his choice of words, telling the Houston Chronicle that his choice of words was "more about the magnitude of their investment prior to future limitations. Not saying it’s a bad strategy but one that many teams can’t afford."
I suppose what makes this relatively notable is that GM-originating shots across the bow tend to be pretty rare, as GMs generally have far better things to do than to issue shots at their competitors through channels readily viewable by the public (not to mention that whole hey-let's-stay-on-good-terms-so-we-can-easily-discuss-trades thing). The only other Rangers-relevant example I can recall off the top of my head is some of the talk from the winter meetings some 5-6 years back, when a rookie- or sophomore-year Jon Daniels was branded as difficult to deal with due to his excessive demands, and that was picked up by Ken Rosenthal. If I'm not mistaken, those comments ended up being sourced back to J.P. Ricciardi.
● Jeff Wilson's morning notes from Surprise indicate that things are progressing as hoped with Mitch Moreland (wrist) and Joe Nathan (in general, because, you know, he's baseball old), and says that our long-standing national nightmare that is Joe Beimel's stiff left elbow is about to come to an end, as he's slated to throw live batting practice this morning.
● T.R. Sullivan's morning notes from Surprise include some comments from Darvish about how well his breaking balls are breaking in spite of the Arizona climate (which generally is not conducive to attaining full break on one's breaking balls), and this remark from an unnamed scout:
"This guy is going to be in the big leagues. It’s just a matter if he’s an All-Star or just an everyday player."
● Jeff Wilson writes about Neil Ramirez bulking up and Tommy Mendonca seeing the ball as well at the plate as ever has in his life, and, additionally, about Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre trying to protect their balky hamstrings this spring. T.R. Sullivan's notes from yesterday talk a little about everything.