Napoli to be behind the plate for Darvish's debut

Napoli to be behind the plate for Darvish's debut

Napoli to be behind the plate for Darvish's debut
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington is planning to have Mike Napoli behind the plate when Yu Darvish makes his Major League debut on Monday night against the Mariners.

Yorvit Torrealba started on Sunday night against the White Sox. Washington has no plans to designate either one of his catchers to work exclusively with Darvish.

"He hasn't indicated he needs a particular guy," Washington said.

Napoli was behind the plate when Darvish made his last Spring Training start in Arizona. Darvish pitched six innings against the Rockies and allowed three runs on six hits with a walk and 11 strikeouts.

"The last game I caught him we started to flow a little bit as far as being on the same page, the way he liked to work, me being in the right spot, talking in the dugout," Napoli said. "He's ready to pitch in the big leagues. I've seen him throw in Spring Training. He's got good stuff, he's a competitor, he likes being out there. He's not scared, he goes after hitters and gets outs."

Napoli's advice?

"'Just be yourself,'" Napoli said. "'Throw what you want to throw, commit to it and be yourself.'"

"I like his stuff and I like his track record," pitching coach Mike Maddux said of Darvish. "The guy knows how to win, we just have to translate that over here. The game against the Rockies and the reaction of the hitters was impressive. He does have the stuff and the ability to have the upper edge on hitters."

Darvish, 25, will be the second-youngest pitcher from Japan to make his Major League debut in a start. The youngest was 23-year-old Tomo Ohka in 1999 for the Red Sox. Daisuke Matsuzaka was 26 when he pitched for the first time in the Major Leagues in 2007 for the Red Sox.

"Darvish is only human," Washington said. "His first game at the Major League level, he'll probably have butterflies and need to settle down. But he did a good job of settling down in Spring Training. He's pitched in big games before, I don't care if it was in Japan. I expect him to do the same thing as others, keep us in the ballgame."