HOUSTON — Yu Darvish is expected to make his next start Sunday at Rangers Ballpark despite the development of a small blister on his ring finger and a heavy workload Tuesday while trying to throw the 24th perfect game in major league history.The Rangers had few concerns Wednesday morning and were planning to keep Darvish on his normal schedule. The right-hander threw up to 120 feet for about five minutes during batting practice, a customary practice for a starting pitcher the day after a start.Darvish threw 111 pitches while coming an out short of a perfect game against Houston. He admitted to feeling some fatigue because he never topped 78 pitches during spring training. He also missed one spring start because of a stiff neck.Manager Ron Washington, though, said that Darvish won’t be pushed back or skipped, and pitching coach Mike Maddux said that Darvish will stay on his normal between-starts schedule.“He was out of gas after seven,” Maddux said. “The situation kind of gets you up where you can find that little extra that you need to pull you through it.”Darvish’s teammates were still buzzing about his performance a day later. He took some ribbing about missing Marwin Gonzalez’s single past the mound and into center field. The ball went through Darvish’s legs, and there were calls for more pitchers’ fielding practice.But his fellow starting pitchers said that the Darvish performance has motivated them.“Just to experience something like that was unbelievable,” Opening Day starter Matt Harrison said. “You see a teammate doing that, you get inspired. You want to try to do the same thing. I think it makes you a better pitcher because you want to try to duplicate that and be the best you can be.”The game drew a 5.2 TV rating on Fox Sports Southwest, and it was the most watched program in Dallas-Fort Worth from 9:15 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. with a 7.7 rating.Halo effectThe Rangers have a mandated off day Thursday after not having one before their season opener, so there will be no on-field activities at Rangers Ballpark ahead of the home opener Friday.But the Rangers know what awaits them: a three-game series against American League West favorite Anaheim and new right fielder Josh Hamilton. The left-handed-hitting slugger will face lefties Derek Holland on Friday and Matt Harrison on Saturday.His former teammates are looking forward to facing the five-time All-Star.“He did a lot of great things. He did a lot for the franchise,” Holland said. “He’s a freak athlete. I just have to go out there and execute my pitches.”Said Harrison: “It’s going to be a little different facing him, but when the game starts I’m just trying to get him out.”Andrus deal updateThe Rangers were expecting that the finishing touches on an eight-year, $120 million contract extension for Elvis Andrus would be completed Thursday and the deal could be made official at an afternoon news conference.Included in the deal, which would begin after Andrus’ current contract ends after 2014, is a clause that would allow the shortstop to opt out after the fourth or fifth year, as well as a vesting option for a ninth year.Andrus said on Tuesday that the deal had not been completed, but he was excited to have the opportunity to stay with the Rangers for at least the next six seasons.
Jeff Wilson 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson