Texas Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish will not pitch for Japan in the World Baseball Classic this coming spring, he has instead decided to focus on preparing for his second major league season.
Darvish issued a statement on Tuesday claiming he made the decision after deliberating and discussing his options with coaches. Darvish pitched for Japan in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and helped his home country win its second World Baseball classic championship in 2009.
He went 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 13 innings, while pitching five games int he WBC in 2009. He also got the final out of the tournament, in the championship game against South Korea.
Darvish issued the following statement about his decision:
“Given my substantial workload over the last few seasons and the numerous changes I’ve endured in my move to the United States, I have decided with my team of advisers that getting ample rest is the most important thing for me right now as I prepare for the 2013 season. My ultimate goal is to help win a World Series with the Texas Rangers and to share that accomplishment with the great baseball fans in Japan.”
The 26-year-old starter also said through representatives, that it was “a very difficult decision” because it is an honor to represent his home country.
The Rangers have to be happy about this decision, since they have made a huge investment in Darvish. They spent a record $51.7 million just for the right to negotiate with him, then they gave him a six-year contract worth $56 million.
Darvish rewarded Texas’ faith in him by going 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 221 strikeouts in 191.1 innings over regular-season 29 starts.
It will be a big loss for Japan being without Darvish this spring, but the team should still be one of the favorites to take the WBC.