He has had six stints on the disabled list, including last season when he had right elbow surgery and didn’t pitch after May 16. He is going into the final season of his contract with the Red Sox worth about $10 million.
Darvish, the son of an Iranian father and a Japanese mother, went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA last season in Japan, when he made the equivalent of about $6 million. He had 276 strikeouts to lead the Pacific League.
Darvish, who turned pro at 18, pitched in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was a member of the Japanese team that won the 2009 World Baseball Classic. The right-hander has superb control and throws seven effective pitches.
Cliff Lee left Texas to return to Philadelphia after the 2010 season, when he was with the Rangers just more than three months after his midseason trade from Seattle. C.J. Wilson last month got a $77.5 million, five-year contract from the AL West rival Los Angeles Angels.
Even with the loss of Wilson, Darvish becomes part of a rotation that already had at least six starting candidates going into spring training.
Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando and Matt Harrison were starters last season. The Rangers have already determined that closer Neftali Feliz will make the transition from the bullpen to the rotation this year after abandoning such plans last spring. Scott Feldman was a 17-game winner in 2009 before microfracture surgery in his right knee at the end of the 2010 season.
The New York Yankees earlier this month failed to sign Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima within 30 days after they won negotiating rights with a high bid of $2.5 million. The 29-year-old Nakajima hit .297 with 16 home runs and 100 RBIs last year with the Seibu Lions, who now retain his rights.
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