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Darvish proud to return to Midsummer Classic

Texas ace doesn't pitch in AL win after throwing 7 1/3 innings Sunday
MLB.com

MIAMI -- Yu Darvish could barely move his right arm after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2015. The idea of pitching as an All-Star seemed as far away as anything he could contemplate.

The Rangers' right-hander didn't pitch in Tuesday's All-Star Game -- a 2-1, 10-inning American League win -- presented by Mastercard after throwing 7 1/3 innings against the Angels on Sunday, but that didn't stop him from joining his AL teammates at Marlins Park on Monday for his fourth All-Star experience. 

MIAMI -- Yu Darvish could barely move his right arm after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2015. The idea of pitching as an All-Star seemed as far away as anything he could contemplate.

The Rangers' right-hander didn't pitch in Tuesday's All-Star Game -- a 2-1, 10-inning American League win -- presented by Mastercard after throwing 7 1/3 innings against the Angels on Sunday, but that didn't stop him from joining his AL teammates at Marlins Park on Monday for his fourth All-Star experience. 

:: Complete All-Star Game coverage ::

"It means a lot," Darvish said through a translator. "After the surgery, I couldn't even move my arm. Starting from that point, I came back and in two years I'm an All-Star? That's something."

Video: Darvish is selected for the 2017 All-Star Game

Darvish is 6-8 with a 3.49 ERA in a Major League-high 19 starts this season, striking out 125 batters in 118 2/3 innings. He's held opponents to three earned runs or fewer in 13 of his past 15 starts, showing the same dominant form he had during his first three seasons in the Majors when he went 39-25 with a 3.27 ERA before the elbow injury.

"I think the consistency will improve," Rangers manager Jeff Banister recently said. "There were a few starts in there where holding the delivery together and the execution of pitches was a bit of a challenge. You would expect that from a guy who missed that amount of time. I don't think you can consider him a guy working his way back any more. He feels good, he feels strong. He is getting stronger every time out. He wants to prove he can withstand the grind and pitch us back into a playoff spot."

Darvish is slated to become a free agent at the end of the season, and while the Rangers hope to re-sign him and Darvish likes playing there, it's possible that Texas could trade him if the Rangers fall out of contention in the coming weeks. 

Video: AL All-Star starting lineup has been announced

"I really like Texas; that's the only place I've lived in the States," Darvish said. "But that's two different things; contract and liking Texas, they're two different things."

Although he didn't pitch in the Midsummer Classic, Darvish planned to enjoy the week in Miami and make the most out of his latest All-Star selection. 

"This is my fourth time, so you get used to it, but you always find new things," Darvish said. "You never get bored. I just want to communicate with all the players and take in as much as I can."

If Darvish had his way, there would be another Texas player helping represent the AL: shortstop Elvis Andrus.

"He's having a great season," Darvish said. "I think he deserved to be here."

Video: TEX@NYY: Darvish fans 10 over seven scoreless frames

Several of Darvish's AL West opponents expressed their admiration for the right-hander and were happy they'll have the opportunity to share a clubhouse with him for a couple days this week.

"For me, he's one of the best," Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano said. "Everything he has -- 96 [mph], that big breaking ball, good slider -- he's got some of the nastiest stuff that I've seen in the big leagues."

"He's tough, man," Astros outfielder George Springer said. "He's got great stuff. He can locate at any time. It's never fun to face that guy. I don't ever like to see him on the mound, but I wish I could play behind him for just a day here. It would be special."

Mark Feisand is a reporter for MLB.com.

Texas Rangers, Yu Darvish