SURPRISE, ARIZONA – Former Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters ace Yu Darvish had some advice on Thursday for Shohei Otani, the man who took over his spot in Sapporo: “Do your own thing.”
Darvish, now the ace of the Texas Rangers, spent time training with the 21-year-old Otani over the winter and said the slugging youngster should continue to work on both his batting and pitching if that’s what he wants.
“If he wants to do it, then he should, because it’s his life,” Darvish said at the Rangers’ spring training camp.
“If it were me, I’d narrow it down to one or the other, because my thinking is to reach as high a level as possible. Doing both lowers your chances of improving.”
Darvish, who spent all of last season recovering from ligament reconstruction surgery on his right elbow, and dedicated more time than usual to weight training over the winter, was left in awe of Otani’s ability to pack on muscle.
“I’m envious of his physical strength,” said Darvish, who has eagerly soaked up whatever knowledge he could get about diet and fitness and passed some of that to the Fighters’ new No. 11.
“He is able to add weight in the shortest time possible. If only our ages were reversed (I could keep up with him).”