ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux faced the media on Saturday in a relatively empty clubhouse at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and admitted that he wished he was there to work and prepare for the New York Yankees in the ALDS. Instead, he answered questions about the 2012 season and what the club plans to do in the offseason. We'll get to some of that in some future blogs.
But Maddux was also asked about Yu Darvish, the 26-year-old Japanese rookie who ended the season with a terrific final seven weeks and solidfied himself as the club's top pitcher going into 2013.
"I thought Yu had a very interesting and a very good campaign," Maddux said. "He went into spring training and it was a lot of hype and it was like Elvis was in the building, the Beatles were coming into town. There was a lot of unknown about it and a lot of hype. As the season progressed and the more Yu acclimated himself or became acclimated with major league baseball and being in a different country and all the things that go along with it, I thought he really, really matured and showed what everybody saw in him when they scouted him the past couple years in Japan.
"I thought that he really made everybody look good, including himself. The superstardom that was in spring training, that fizzled out, and once it fizzled out and he became one of the guys. I think that’s when he really took off."
Darvish impressed veteran closer Joe Nathan, as well.
"I think obviously his stuff is unbelievable and to come over and make that adjustment -- not just on the field but off the field -- he’s been pretty impressive," Nathan said. "To stay healthy and continue to go out there where he only had a couple of days where he was dinged up. It was a great year for him. I know there are some things he can learn from this year. When he’s in the strike zone, he’s pretty tough to beat. The only time he really goes out and beats himself is when he’s walking guys."