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Teng Kai-wei receives gift from idol Yu Darvish after MLB debut

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San Francisco Giants pitcher Teng Kai-wei makes his MLB debut on Sunday in San Diego. CNA photo April 1, 2024

San Diego, March 31 (CNA) San Francisco Giants pitcher Teng Kai-wei (鄧愷威) will never forget the day he made his major league debut after three innings of twists and turns in the team's 13-4 loss to the San Diego Padres on Sunday.

The rookie became the first Taiwan-born player to suit up for the Giants when he took to the mound in the bottom of the third.

Teng struck out four over three innings pitched and gave up four hits and three walks to yield three earned runs, but what made the day even more memorable for him was an Asics mitt he received from Yu Darvish, the San Diego Padres pitcher.

The 25-year-old Teng met his idol on the first day he reported to the franchise, thanks to a Japanese Giants bullpen catcher, Teng told the media in Mandarin after the game.

"[The catcher] told Darvish this is my debut, and he said 'This year is going to be a really big year for you. This glove shows that I'll be rooting for you,'" Teng said.

Entering his 14th MLB season this year, the 37-year-old Darvish has recorded 103 wins and 85 losses with a 3.58 ERA over 1,633 innings pitched in 268 starts.

After flying to San Diego on March 29, Teng told CNA he grew up looking up to Darvish and was excited to have a brief chat with him.

The game seemed irrelevant to the scoreless Giants when Teng came out of the bullpen, after starting pitcher Daulton Jefferies gave up nine runs in just two innings in his season debut.

"I thought I can finally take to the mound in the majors when I walked from the bullpen to the mound," said Teng, admitting that he was a bit too excited despite trying to "get rid of all non-baseball-related thoughts."

All three of Teng's earned runs came in his first inning. After allowing a single to Graham Pauley, Teng gave up his first run on an RBI-double by Jackson Merrill, and walked Xander Bogaerts.

Teng then got two outs in a row, including striking out two-time silver slugger Fernando Tatis Jr. for his first in the major. However, he soon loaded the bases by allowing another double and two walks before ending that frame with his second strikeout.

The right-hander seemed to find his groove in the following two innings, only giving up a single in the fourth and retiring all three batters in the fifth.

"I had thought I would not be too excited, but I found I couldn't control it when I threw the first pitch. I was too excited," Teng said after the game.

Meanwhile, Giants manager Bob Melvin said he hoped Teng could have covered more innings due to Jefferies' relatively short outing. It was a pity that Teng threw 40 pitches in the third inning, but he looked much more at ease afterward, Melvin added.

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