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Nolan Ryan says he's confident of signing Darvish

Texas Rangers President Nolan Ryan says he's confident of signing Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish by a Wednesday deadline.

Ryan expressed his feelings to reporters Thursday at the Rangers' annual winter banquet, one week after Darvish visited the North Texas area where he would be pitching. The Hall-of-Famer declined to elaborate on how close both sides were in the contract talks, but he assured that he expected a deal to be reached on a contract with the 25-year-old right-hander.

The Rangers, who have won consecutive AL pennants, put in a record bid of about $51.7 million for the right to negotiate with Japan's best pitcher. A 30-day negotiating window began when their bid was accepted Dec. 20 by the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan's Pacific League.

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