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Rangers "optimistic" over Darvish deal

Team Japan's Yu celebrates as he gets the final out against Team USA during the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic in Los Angeles
Team Japan's Yu celebrates as he gets the final out against Team USA during the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic in Los Angeles

(Reuters) - Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan has expressed confidence of striking a deal with flame-throwing Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish before next week's deadline.

"My expectation are that we'll get something done," Ryan told ESPN after meeting the 25-year-old, accepting that talks could go right down to wire.

The Rangers won rights to negotiate with Darvish with a record bid of $51.7 million under the Japanese posting system and their 30-day window ends on Wednesday.

"That's the nature of things," shrugged Ryan, who added Texas were "optimistic" about signing Japan's hottest baseball property.

The 6ft-5in Darvish last week visited Texas for the first time with his representatives and family members.

"He was bigger than I thought," Ryan said. "He looks good. He's built like a pitcher. I like his attitude about wanting to compete."

The Rangers only pay the $51.7 million posting fee if Darvish joins the two-time defending American League champions.

Daisuke Matsuzaka and Ichiro Suzuki went to the major leagues under the system.

Darvish, whose father is Iranian and mother Japanese, went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA for the Nippon Ham Fighters and also led Japan's Pacific League with 276 strikeouts last season.

Darvish pitched at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where Japan lost to eventual champions South Korea in the semi-finals, and helped his country win the World Baseball Classic title in 2009.

(Reporting by Alastair Himmer in Tokyo; Editing by John O'Brien)

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