Japanese ace Darvish ponders US citizenship amid rehab from season-ending elbow surgery



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ARLINGTON, Texas — Yu Darvish misses being on this road with his Texas teammates for reasons beyond fellowship as he recovers from season-ending elbow surgery.

The Japanese right-hander joked his English is suffering because he's not using it as much. Darvish was serious when he said he wants to improve his command of the language enough to pursue dual citizenship.

"I asked the team if they can help me with my English," Darvish said Sunday through an interpreter, while noting that Miami's Jose Fernandez, a Cuban native, recently became a U.S. citizen.

"I would like to get the citizenship," Darvish said.

About six weeks removed from Tommy John surgery, Darvish is out of a brace and has moved from range-of-motion exercises to work on his shoulder and forearm. He said he didn't have as much pain as others he talked to about the procedure.

There is no timetable for Darvish to start throwing again. The Texas ace felt tightness in his triceps while warming up for his spring training debut and threw 12 pitches in his only inning. An MRI soon after revealed a partially torn elbow ligament.

"If I wanted to push it, I could have," Darvish said. "I just want to take it slow and take the right steps toward recovery."

With the Rangers headed on a trip, Darvish is preparing for another week of rehab. He says he tries to watch the Rangers but has trouble with his TV and now realizes Major League Baseball's online service has blackouts in the local market.

Still, he says he has a positive mindset as he settles in for a season without pitching. The majors' strikeout leader in 2013 missed the last seven weeks of last season with elbow inflammation.

"I have no frustrations at all," Darvish said. "I can't throw right now and it is what it is. I'm just cheering on my teammates right now."

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