ATLANTA – Legend has it everything is bigger in Texas. After getting their first up-close-and-personal look at Yu Darvish, the Dodgers might believe it.
“It’s impressive how big he is,” Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said after overseeing Darvish’s first bullpen session with his new team Wednesday afternoon. “He is a young man who’s put together very well – a very powerful arm and body. You can look at film all you want to. It’s another thing to see him with your own eyes.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had the same first impression of Darvish, listed at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds.
“He’s more physical (than I expected),” Roberts said. “You see him on TV. You see the No. 11. Obviously he’s got a great presence about him. Then when you get in front of him, yeah, he’s very physical.”
Darvish looms very large indeed in the Dodgers’ hopes to make good on their promising regular season with an accompanying World Series title. Their acquisition of the Japanese right-hander has made anything less a potential disappointment – a lot of pressure for the 30-year-old Darvish who also has to arm himself for his own looming free agency.
“I try not to think about. Just focus on what I do,” Darvish said through his interpreter, dismissing the topic of pressure quickly.
The only concerns Darvish would acknowledge involved a desire to fit in with his new team.
“It’s an honor to be here and play for such a good team having such a great season,” he said, following his bullpen session as he met the media for the first time since the trade. “Obviously, this is my first time being traded in the middle of a season so I was worried if I could blend into the clubhouse and everything. But the guys have been great and I feel very comfortable and I’m looking forward to playing for the first time.
“You join a new team in the middle of the season and just come in and do whatever you want to do? I don’t want to be that guy. So I’ll do everything I can to be a good teammate because I know it’s important.”
At least one teammate was preparing the way for Darvish weeks ago.
“At the All-Star Game when I was talking to (Clayton Kershaw), he told me, ‘I’ll be waiting for you in three weeks,’ and it actually happened,” Darvish said. “It’s pretty amazing.”
Darvish is scheduled to make his first start for the Dodgers on Friday against the New York Mets.
Darvish has not pitched well recently – a…