• Your Weekly Yu Darvish Update: After Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters' right-hander Yu Darvish's 15 K complete game shutout of the the Seibu Lions last Tuesday, there were reports (translated at MLBTraderumors.com) that the 25-year-old starter would skip his final start of the season since the Fighters were already guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. The win last week was the 18th of Darvish's seventh pro season with Hokkaido Nippon-Ham, leaving him (18-6) with 10 complete games, six shutouts, a 1.44 ERA, 276 K's collected (10.71 K/9), 36 BB (1.40 BB/9), 5 HR's and 42 runs (37 ER) allowed in 28 starts and 232.0 IP.
As noted in a report by Daily Yumiuri sports writer Jim Allen entitled, "Hiyama hails teammate Murton's record streak", with his 15-K season-ending outing, "Darvish reached double digits in strikeouts for a career-high 14th time this season," and it was the third start this season in which he struck out 15 batters, "... something no pitcher in Japan had ever accomplished. Prior to 2011, [Darvish] had never struck out 15 in one game."
Darvish will reportedly start the first game of the Climax Series against the Seibu Lions on October 29th.
According to two reports today, (from Sanspo and Daily Sports Online linked and summarized at Yakyubaka.com) a source close to Darvish is saying the right-hander will ask to be posted at the end of the Fighters' postseason run. According to reports earlier this month, in an article in the Mainichi Shimbun 毎日新聞, or The Mainichi Daily News, Nippon Ham Fighters' owner Hiroji Okoso had discussed their, "... readiness to respect Yu Darvish's decision if the ace wants to pitch in the major leagues in the near future."
"We'll definitely need him next year," the Nippon Ham Fighters' owner told reporters, "... but if he wants to play at a higher level...''
It was a year ago today (10/19) that Darvish took to his own Twitter account to announce that he would remain in Japan for the 2011 season. "A lot has been mentioned about the Majors," Darvish wrote at the time, "I received a lot of comments, both on Twitter and on my blog. I don't know if this will match everyone's guess. Next season... I will be wearing a Nippon Ham Fighters uniform."
New York Daily News writer Ken Davidoff, in a section of his column, "Ken Davidoff's Baseball Insider" earlier this week subtitled, "Soft Market", reports that, "Baseball officials are increasingly convinced that the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters will post righthander Yu Darvish to the major leagues, and industry folks wonder: How much will teams pay for the right to negotiate with Darvish?"
The Nippon Ham Fighters' owner Hiroji Okoso is quoted in an article at Sponichi saying they might make an offer to keep Darvish in Japan. Once again, the Nationals, Rangers, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Yankees are mentioned as teams with interest in Darvish should he decided to make the move to Major League baseball. The decision this year will be postponed until the Fighters' season ends.
• Watch Yu Darvish K 15 Batters (from earlier this season):
• via the YouTube and rFani1.