MINNEAPOLIS -- Even though the Twins didn't know too much about Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish before he took the mound on Saturday at Target Field, they still prepared for facing him the same way they do all other pitchers.
The Twins studied video of Darvish's first start of the year against the Mariners. He struggled in that outing, allowing seven of the first eight batters he faced to reach before settling down. He still ended up surrendering five earned runs over 5 2/3 innings to pick up the win.
"It's just video," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's all you can do. You can read the report, but there's not much you can go on from the report either. It's just one game. You throw out that first inning and try to work from there to see what he did after that."
Darvish is one of the more intriguing players in baseball, as he dominated while with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan, posting a career 1.99 ERA and winning two Pacific League MVP Awards. The Rangers paid a hefty price to bring him to the Majors, winning the rights to sign him to a six-year, $56 million deal with a posting fee of more than $51 million.
Gardenhire said he didn't even realize Darvish, who reportedly throws six different pitches, was 6-foot-5. But after watching the video, Gardenhire said he came away impressed with Darvish.
"He's got all the pitches," Gardenhire said. "He's very athletic, has great stuff, and a great changeup. I saw his changeup just falling off the table. They said he was a little excited in his first start, but we know this guy's a very good pitcher."