/

Darvish set to start on Opening Day

Kyodo

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said Saturday that right-hander Yu Darvish will be his Opening Day starter at home against the Philadelphia Phillies on March 31.

“I think it’s obvious,” Washington said at a Rangers fan event. “It’s Darvish if he stays healthy.”

It will be the first Opening Day assignment in the big leagues for the former Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters ace, who is entering his third season with Texas.

He will be the fourth Japanese pitcher to start on Opening Day in the major leagues, following Hideo Nomo, who did it three times, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hiroki Kuroda.

Last season Darvish went 13-9 and led the major leagues in strikeouts with 277 and his team in wins while throwing 209⅔ innings with a 2.83 earned run average.