ARLINGTON -- Yu Darvish, along with the Rangers Foundation and gloops, Inc., will sponsor a Japanese youth baseball team that will travel to Texas this summer as part of a series of initiatives in conjunction with this year's Japan-America Grassroots Summit. For the first time, the summit will take place in North Texas. Up to 15 families will stay with host families in the Metroplex area. The youth baseball team that Darvish is sponsoring as part of the TOMODACHI initiative is from Ishinomaki, a city located in the Tohuko region of Japan, which sustained heavy damage from the tsunami and earthquake in March 2011. "The Texas Rangers are proud to be joining in this effort to promote and help fund these initiatives," Rangers president Nolan Ryan said. "It also gives us a further opportunity to help youth baseball, one of prime objectives of our foundation."
Darvish is one of three Asian-born pitchers on the Rangers roster, along with relievers Koji Uehara and Yoshinori Tateyama. Uehara has posted a 1.04 ERA in 16 appearances this year, striking out 19 and walking just two. Tateyama, who was called up from Triple-A Round Rock last week, is 1-0 with a 5.79 ERA in four appearances. Darvish signed with the Rangers after playing for seven years in Japan and leads the American League with seven wins. He is 7-2 with a 3.25 ERA in 10 starts, leading the team with 66 strikeouts and 35 walks. "Nobody loves baseball more than Japanese," former U.S. Ambassador to Japan and former Texas Rangers president Thomas Schieffer said. "The Japanese love to see their stars succeed in Major League Baseball. I think Yu Darvish is succeeding very well. They're very proud of him." The Rangers' game against the Rays Aug. 28 will be Japan America Friendship Night at Rangers Ballpark. It will kick off the summit as several hundred of its participants are expected to be in attendance. Efforts to arrange exhibition games for the Japanese youth baseball team in America are ongoing.