Yu Darvish throws on Feb. 23 in Surprise, Ariz.
Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, the 25-year-old global phenomenon, has yet to throw a pitch in the big leagues yet, but he's cashing in on his worldwide appeal as a Japanese sensation making his U.S. debut.
He's used that stardom to now sign his first endorsement deal since arriving in the United States to try his hand at the highest level as he signed a multi-year deal with Topps, the sports card and memorabilia company famous for putting rock-hard bubble gum in their wax packs back in the day.
The deal gives Topps exclusive rights to Darvish's autographed trading items and other memorabilia.
Topps vice president of marketing Mark Sapir told the Associated Press that Darvish "transcends baseball on a global scale."
Topps will also use Darvish for social media and on packaging and promotion for the company's products.