SURPRISE, ARIZONA – Texas Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish said Tuesday he finds himself at a crossroads in his career, in a do-or-die situation as the countdown begins to the 2017 major league season.
A day before pitchers and catchers were due to report to spring training, the 30-year-old said he wanted to join the elite group of pitchers who successfully bounced back from Tommy John surgery going into the final season of a six-year contract.
“This year will be a turning point for me,” said Darvish, whose Rangers open their season April 3 at home against the Cleveland Indians.
“If I do badly, I’m finished, and if I do well I’ve got more to look forward to.”
Darvish, who had the surgery on his throwing elbow in March 2015 and missed the entire season, admitted he was never quite at ease since returning to the mound in May last year, at times feeling like his ligaments were torn again.
At this time last year, Darvish was still rehabilitating. He managed to finish the season 7-5 in 17 starts with a 3.41 ERA, but was never at his best.
“It feels completely different,” Darvish said. “No matter how hard I swing my arm, I don’t feel any pain or discomfort.”
Darvish on Tuesday played catch, even pitching to a catcher with a batter next by and came away feeling good.
“As long as I’m comfortable throwing without any stress, the results will be there in the end,” he said.