ARLINGTON -- Yu Darvish, along with the Rangers Foundation and gloops, Inc., will sponsor a Japanese youth baseball team that will travel to Texas this summer as part of a series of initiatives in conjunction with this year's Japan-America Grassroots Summit.For the first time, the summit will take place in North Texas. Up to 15 families will stay with host families in the Metroplex area. The youth baseball team that Darvish is sponsoring as part of the TOMODACHI initiative is from Ishinomaki, a city located in the Tohuko region of Japan, which sustained heavy damage from the tsunami and earthquake in March 2011. "The Texas Rangers are proud to be joining in this effort to promote and help fund these initiatives," Rangers president Nolan Ryan said. "It also gives us a further opportunity to help youth baseball, one of prime objectives of our foundation." Darvish is one of three Asian-born pitchers on the Rangers roster, along with relievers Koji Uehara and Yoshinori Tateyama. Uehara has posted a 1.04 ERA in 16 appearances this year, striking out 19 and walking just two. Tateyama, who was called up from Triple-A Round Rock last week, is 1-0 with a 5.79 ERA in four appearances. Darvish signed with the Rangers after playing for seven years in Japan and leads the American League with seven wins. He is 7-2 with a 3.25 ERA in 10 starts, leading the team with 66 strikeouts and 35 walks. "Nobody loves baseball more than Japanese," former U.S. Ambassador to Japan and former Texas Rangers president Thomas Schieffer said. "The Japanese love to see their stars succeed in Major League Baseball. I think Yu Darvish is succeeding very well. They're very proud of him." The Rangers' game against the Rays Aug. 28 will be Japan America Friendship Night at Rangers Ballpark. It will kick off the summit as several hundred of its participants are expected to be in attendance. Efforts to arrange exhibition games for the Japanese youth baseball team in America are ongoing.
Under the weather, Hamilton starts anyway
ARLINGTON -- Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton was in the lineup on Tuesday night, although he was still suffering from an upper respiratory ailment."It's not any better. I just feel bad ... a sinus infection or a nasal infection," Hamilton said. "But I'm playing, that's all that matters." Hamilton has been bothered by the condition for over a week and did not play on Monday against Mariners. Manager Ron Washington put him in the lineup on Tuesday, although it was contingent on how Hamilton felt going through batting practice. "You get paid to play baseball, so you go out and play," Hamilton said. "You go play and hopefully do something. I'm not going to get any worse. You always try to figure out a way to deal with it, whether you're sick or injured. It will be fine. Hopefully I can stay not dizzy and catch the ball." Hamilton made it through batting practice without any problems. "He looked good," Washington said. "He didn't tell me anything. I guess he is all right."
Beltre running solid, but not 100 percent
ARLINGTON -- Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre drew a walk in the sixth inning in Monday's 4-2 win over the Mariners. Beltre, with David Murphy at the plate, also drew a couple of pickoff throws from reliever Steve Delabar."They didn't want me to steal the base," Beltre said. Actually they were trying to see if Murphy would try to bunt. Instead he swung away and singled to right. Beltre ended up at third and both scored on Mike Napoli's three-run home run. Beltre, who has been dealing with a strained left hamstring for over a month, was back at third base on Tuesday. It was his 13th straight game starting at third. He has not been used at designated hitter since May 15 against the Royals, although he said he is still not 100 percent. "I'm better," Beltre said. "I'm feeling a lot better, but I don't think it's 100 percent yet, and I don't want to find out yet. I don't try unless I have to. My main goal is to maintain it and not force it and be in the lineup every day. "Defensively, it hasn't been a problem. The first few games I was limping a little, but I got over it quickly. The only problem has been running straight up 100 percent. Defensively, I'm not worried about it."
Gentry gets teaching moment
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers want Craig Gentry to play aggressively in center field. They just want him to understand what is the right situation.That was the message sent after the Rangers' 4-2 victory over the Mariners on Monday night. Gentry missed making a diving catch in the eighth inning, and it almost got the Rangers in trouble. "I don't want to take his aggressiveness away," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "But there are certain times in a game where you don't want to take a chance. I don't want to stop him from being aggressive, but I just want him to understand situations." The Rangers led, 4-1, in the top of the eighth. The Mariners had a runner on first with nobody out and Brendan Ryan at the plate. Ryan hit a soft line drive into right-center and Gentry missed making a diving catch. The ball rolled to the fence, allowing one run to score, but Ryan was thrown out at the plate. Right fielder Nelson Cruz backed up on the play and fired to second baseman Ian Kinsler, who threw out Ryan at the plate. Washington said there was no need to take that chance with the Rangers up by three runs. "It could have been bad if Cruz had not been on the job or we didn't make two good relay throws," Washington said. "If one of the relay throws is off, we have an inside-the-park home run. Yes it was aggressive, but you have to remember what part of the game it is."
Opposing hitters are 0-for-19 against Rangers closer Joe Nathan since a single by Billy Butler on May 15. Nathan has a 0.54 ERA in his past 17 appearances since his only blown save on April 11. Rangers catchers hit home runs in the first four games of the homestand. Yorvit Torrealba went deep in the first two games, and Mike Napoli did so on Sunday and Monday. The last time the Rangers had a home run in four straight games from their catcher was June 8-11, 2001, by Ivan Rodriguez. Washington on the surging Angels, "Everybody knew they weren't going to stay in the cellar. They're a good team. So are the Texas Rangers. We have to take care of us. When we play them, we'll see what happens and then move on to the next one." Outfielder Julio Borbon was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right groin on Tuesday. He was riding a 15-game hitting streak before he was injured.
Class A Myrtle Beach outfielder Jake Skole has been named the Carolina League Player of the Week. Skole hit .500 last week, going 8-for-16 in six games with two home runs, four runs scored five RBIs, four walks and a pair of doubles. Skole was the Rangers' first round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.