ARLINGTON — Yu Darvish is visiting Texas for the first time during a 30-day window the AL champion Rangers have to negotiate a contract with the Japanese pitcher.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels confirmed reports from Japanese media that Darvish was in the Dallas-Fort Worth area Tuesday. Daniels wouldn't discuss the state of negotiations with Darvish or any plans for meetings during the visit by the 25-year-old right-hander.
The Rangers put out a statement later Tuesday that said Darvish was visiting Texas for the first time and was with his representatives. The team said it was releasing no details about the visit and not commenting during the negotiation process.
"He felt it was appropriate to make the trip at this time," the Rangers said.
The Rangers, who have won consecutive AL pennants, put in a record bid of about $51.7 million for the right to negotiate with Japan's best pitcher. A 30-day negotiating window began when their bid was accepted Dec. 20 by the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan's Pacific League. They only pay the fee if they sign the player.
Darvish, the son of an Iranian father and a Japanese mother, went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA last season. He had 276 strikeouts to lead the Pacific League.
The 6-foot-5 Darvish pitched in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was a member of the Japanese team that won the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Darvish, who turned pro in 2005 at age 18, has superb control and throws seven effective pitches.
Texas has lost its No. 1 pitcher in free agency after each of the last two World Series.
Cliff Lee left after the 2010 season to return to Philadelphia, and left-hander C.J. Wilson agreed to a $77.5 million, five-year contract with the AL West rival Los Angeles Angels last month.