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Darvish Has Shoes to Fill

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Does Kei Igawa's ghost loom over Darvish's future?

    Many Rangers fans couldn't get C.J. Wilson out the door fast enough this off-season.

    He certainly seemed to wear out his welcome in the postseason, when he failed to record a win and did things like hit the first batter he saw in a relief appearance in the World Series, all while being incredibly cocky in interviews.

    But folks seem to forget, the dude can pitch, and more importantly, the dude has proven he can pitch in Rangers Ballpark and in the intense summer heat in Arlington.

    With the Rangers winning the bidding process to negotiate with Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, paying in excess of $50 million to even talk to the guy, they've seemingly found their replacement for Wilson.

    But have they really?

    It's hard to say. Darvish has never proven he can pitch in Major League Baseball, much less in games where the temperature at first pitch of a 7:05 p.m. start is 107 degrees.

    Say what you want of Wilson, but the guy is in insane shape and has an amazing work ethic. He proved without a doubt that he can handle the rigors of a summer in Arlington, something free agent pitchers have been scared of dealing with ever since the Rangers moved to Texas in the early 1970s.

    Does Darvish have the stuff to be better than Wilson? Certainly. He's not your typical Japanese import. The 25-year-old is 6-5, more than 200 pounds and has a vast array of pitches, including a heater that reaches 95 mph.

    But all he's ever known is the Japanese game, which uses a smaller, tackier ball and sees pitchers work less often than they do in the United States.

    But, that stuff is pretty sick. Good enough to replace Wilson? We'll have to wait and see.