ATLANTA (AP) - Yu Darvish is eager to avoid making a bad first impression with his new Dodgers teammates.
Darvish, traded from Texas to Los Angeles for three prospects on Monday, joined the Dodgers on Wednesday. The four-time All-Star right-hander threw a bullpen session before Wednesday night’s game against Atlanta and settled into his new clubhouse.
Speaking through a translator, the Japanese pitcher said he doesn’t want to arrive at midseason, “do whatever you want to do and you’re a bad teammate.”
Added Darvish: “I don’t want to be that guy.”
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, currently on the DL with a lower back strain, chatted with Darvish at last month’s All-Star game. The conversation including a prediction from Kershaw that the two soon would be teammates.
“When I was talking with him he told me, ‘I’ll be looking for you in about three weeks,’ and it actually happened,” Darvish said. “It’s amazing.”
Darvish said Kershaw is “the No. 1 pitcher in all of baseball.”
“Of course I’m looking forward to being on the same team and I would like to learn all I can from him,” he said.
The trade sent Darvish to the team with the best record in the major leagues.
“It’s an honor to be here playing for a great team which is having such a good season,” he said. “This is my first time to get traded during a season. I was worried a little bit, going into the clubhouse and everything, but the guys have been really great. I think I feel really comfortable now.”
Manager Dave Roberts and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt were among the large group watching Darvish’s first bullpen session.
Roberts described Darvish as “very focused, a very good worker. After just seeing him in the pen, I’m very excited.”
Roberts, who was born in Japan, said his first conversation with Darvish was “half and half, Japanese and English.”
“I was actually very impressed with his English,” Roberts said.
Darvish joins a Los Angeles rotation that includes another Japanese pitcher, Kenta Maeda, who beat the Braves 3-2 in Tuesday night’s series opener.
Darvish reached out to Maeda after Monday’s trade, asking for advance word on any team rules.
“I’ve never played with him before,” Darvish said. “Of course I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait to mess with him all the time in the clubhouse.”
Maeda said Darvish is “somebody I admire very much.”
Right-hander Josh Ravine was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to clear a roster spot for Darvish, who will make his Dodgers debut on Friday night at the New York Mets.
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