Yu Darvish is in his third season in Major League Baseball, and so far, he's arguably on pace to become the greatest Japanese pitcher to ever pitch stateside, as his unique possession of power stuff, size and durability has made him different than most of his countrymen that came before him.
But there are still some things Darvish isn't sure of in the American game, as he detailed in Minneapolis last week during the All-Star Game festivities.
I think everybody has a hard time maintaining their health, and everyone has a risk of getting injured,” Darvish said to Japanese reporters during the All-Star break in Minneapolis last week. “It depends on how you lower the risk of getting injured. I think it is [coming] to the age where the individual has to take care of their own body. I think that is the difference-maker.”
At the root of all those concerns, of course, is the MLB schedule compared to that of Japan. In Japan, Darvish pitched every sixth day. Here, he pitches every fifth day. He's a workhorse and hasn't ran into any major problems yet, but he did suggest using a six-man rotation in America even though he said he doesn't think it'd fly (he's right).
"It's way too short,” he said, regarding the time between starts. “That's why they have pitch-count limitations, but pitch count doesn't have much to do with it. You could throw 120 pitches, 140 pitches and have six days' rest, and the inflammation on the ligament will all be healed. So I think that's it.”
With how expensive starting pitchers are on the market these days, it's hard to believe MLB owners would want to add another one to the mix, much less an extra roster spot.
Darvish also told Japanese reporters something about American baseballs, which we knew are larger than Japanese ones, but he added another caveat.
"They are all different, the size, there are deformed ones," Darvish said of the official MLB balls. "Japanese balls are all the same. It's great.”
Deformed balls? Who knew. Well, now you do.