Yu Darvish kept toying with Rangers hitters and couldn't help but laugh

Mark TownsendYahoo Sports Contributor
Big League Stew

Yu Darvish took the Texas Rangers on a trip down memory lane on Wednesday and had a lot of fun doing so.

The Chicago Cubs right-hander was facing his former team for the first time since being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last July. Granted, it was only spring training, but Darvish couldn’t help but challenge them with every pitch in his arsenal, and maybe even one or two that aren’t.

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The outing resulted in some of the filthiest pitches we’ve seen all spring.

At times, all Darvish could do was laugh as he kept many of his former teammates off balance and crusied through six dominant innings. That was especially true after he unleashed this awkward yet effective fastball that froze Drew Robinson.

Darvish has a natural pause in his delivery, but it was exaggerated on that pitch because apparently he lost his balance. Based on the outcome, maybe that’s something he should do more often. Robinson was fooled, and Darvish was tickled based on the laughs he shared with teammates.

Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish can’t hide his laugh after fooling Rangers hitter Drew Robinson with a hesitation fastball. (MLB.TV)
Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish can’t hide his laugh after fooling Rangers hitter Drew Robinson with a hesitation fastball. (MLB.TV)

That was just one of several ridiculous pitches Darvish fired on Wednesday. There was also this filthy curveball, which fooled Delino DeShields Jr. for the first of his seven strikeouts.

That’s almost unfair.

Apparently he had a little fun with former teammate Elvis Andrus along the way too.

Andrus had one of three hits against Darvish, who allowed one run on a Juan Centeno home run over six innings. After the game, Andrus was outspoken about wishing Darvish had returned to Texas.

“We talked all the time,” Andrus told MLB.com. “I said, ‘Are you coming back or what?’ We wanted him back, we miss him for sure as a player and teammate. I was praying that he would have come back.”

It was clear that Darvish relished facing his former team for the first team. Reporters noted that he tipped his cap to Rangers coaches at the end of his outing. Darvish won 52 games over five-plus seasons in a Rangers uniform before being traded to Los Angeles at the July 31 deadline.

Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million deal with Chicago during the offseason. He’s coming off a disappointing World Series performance that saw him get hammered in two critical losses for the Dodgers. Some believe Darvish was tipping pitches during his World Series outings. The Cubs have been working to clean that up, and so far it would appear Darvish is pretty much locked in. His spring ERA now sits at 2.76.

Darvish is expected to start during the Cubs opening series in Miami. Jon Lester will handle opening day duties for the third time in four seasons.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Yahoo Sports Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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